Every year I play like Inspector Gadget’s smart niece and look for something new in the Christmas story.
- A choice to believe God. In reading Luke 1 and Zachariah’s response to the angel (speaking of rocking-chair-old Elizabeth’s to-be pregnancy) I was reminded that being an older, religious, in-the-right-family descendant of Aaron didn’t seem to matter. Zachariah didn’t believe the angel. “Do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is an old woman.” Contrast that with the response of Mary – young, unlearned, female Mary. The angel came to her with even crazier news. “I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.”
- The scope of the story. The angel said to the shepherds, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has been born in David’s town” (Luke 2, The Message). What must those smelly men have thought? What did they know of the world? The Israelites were crying out for an earthly king to deliver them out from their oppression. But did they ever consider that others – in places they’d never see – needed a King, too?
- The power of a dream. The wise men chose to believe a dream over the words of Herod when they were warned that Herod wanted to kill Jesus. As an American, this completely surprises me. What a dream that must have been! A good reminder that when God speaks we find ourselves compelled to take steps of action we might have never thought we would.