If we could suspend our belief or disbelief for just a moment, we all might agree that the lasting words handed down over centuries help us make sense of our human condition. That new little family who emerged on what we call Christmas Eve brought us a love story wrapped in the warmth and beauty of treasured truths. It is hard to believe that anyone would find fault with the elements of a sacred image recounted in almost every belief system in history.
It is, after all, about the birth of a child.
Renowned scholars, cloistered holy people and experts from all walks of life have examined in minute detail the origins, possibilities and the reality of the Baby Jesus scenario.
But, year after year, we reach more deeply into the season, prolonging it, looking for solace in memories, unleashing spates of creativity. We experience our hidden feelings and hope that sharing with others will ease the pain of loss or enhance our honest sense of self worth and joy.
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In unearthing an ancient story, do we really care about detailed accuracy?
If we look for miracles it doesn’t matter when, where, or even why. Over time, the journey of three kings riding camels and bearing unusual baby gifts morphed into a chubby Santa with many names flying through the air with reindeer. Past meets present.
Everyone celebrates a creed that honors the giving of gifts, the sharing of abiding love.
The kings, who are reputed to have traveled all the way from Persia to Bethlehem and whose tombs rest today in Constantinople, are also labeled astrologers, priests and magi among the many roles and in many languages.
They portray a political role in relation to Herod the King of Judea, who heard that the babe was anointed.
Another important aspect of the Magi is the star that guided their journey and “shone bright” in spite of the scientific calendar of possibilities.
No one is certain of the exact arrival time of those royal figures. Was it tonight or months later? Whenever, the star stays and our season remains forever young.
Indulge my childhood delight tonight as I place the “Three Wise Men” at the stable and wonder, as some folks do, why Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazzar didn’t bring food or oil instead of gold, frankincense and myhhr.
Next to them are the lowly shepherds who lay warm woolly sheep near the baby. The voices singing “Come All Ye Faithful” reach out to everyone: the lonely, the threatened, the worried, the joyful, the neighbors and families all.
We hug, kiss, shake hands, smile and believe that an exciting tomorrow waits.
What matters on this journey through life are those events that make us real and the actions that stir our souls. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful. We must carry it with us … or we find it not.”
God bless us, everyone.