Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

The day before Christmas is always special. It's the time when the last bits of anticipation can be developed into a full blown frenzy. The Christmas music is playing in the background, the decorations seem more colorful, the weather seems cozier and the cocoa tastes sweeter. It's the build up to that magical day when Christmas happens. But what are you anticipating? How are you getting in the mood for Christmas?

Is it the excitement about presents alone that fuel you? The presents will be torn into and over by 10am if the parents really drag it out; 7am if the kids have their way. How is your anticipation on Christmas Eve helping to make Christmas Day more meaningful?

May I submit a suggestion? Wait for a calm moment this evening, put on some Jewish sounding music (like John Williams composed for the film "Schindler's List"), sit at a table or in front of a warm fireplace and read the following:

A Christmas Thought

Imagine with me for a moment living in a different time and different place.

Imagine that the army isn’t in a far country fighting to keep you free. The army is instead in your town, in your neighborhood, on your street corner and in your marketplace. The army is not even yours. It belongs to a foreign power who has conquered your land and intends to maintain its grip. Because your region is considered unstable, the local garrison is frequently monitoring your places of worship or searching your homes in an ongoing attempt to quell resistance before it can grow into social unrest. The land your family has dwelt in; that you have grown up in, that you hope to grow your own family in, is not Iraq... It’s Judea.

Because of the census that has been imposed on your people, so that Rome can collect even more taxes, you’ve had to take a long and dusty journey back to the hometown of your ancestors – a sleepy hamlet just a few miles southwest of Jerusalem. The inconvenience of it all makes the oppression just sting that much more. Rome seems to control everything. When you go to register in Bethlehem, you don’t complain because you don’t want any trouble...
But all you can think about is:
• When will Messiah come?
• When will Yahweh send His Chosen One to make right so much that is so wrong?
Evidence of the world’s brokenness is seen everywhere. You just witnessed a young man and his pregnant wife get turned away form the Inn. The words “No vacancy” were spoken so coldly to that poor young girl who looks like she’s about to deliver. You don’t step in to help but you do wonder to yourself,
If Messiah were here would he permit such an injustice?
You feel lucky though. At least you have a place to stay in town where you can get the latest news. It could be worse. You could be up in the hills with the shepherds where you’d never here what was going on.

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