The first Christmas … a holy event.
Mary, a young girl — a teenager — was on the threshold of adult life. She was promised to be married. Mary was dreaming of what might be when she receives word that rocks her world: You have been chosen by God to become a mother. And the child she was to bear, she was to share with the world. Imagine Mary— a young girl who was probably excited, likely scared. Honored, to be sure, and confused. And through it all she remained open. Mary was called to host this holy event.
Joseph was a young man, dependable and hardworking. He was promised to be married. He was planning for life with a new wife when he hears news that rocks his world: Mary is pregnant. Joseph wants to maintain the status quo to protect his reputation as well as Mary’s. Joseph likely felt betrayed. He wanted to do the right thing; even so, he was likely confused and angry. And through it all he maintained an attitude of obedience. Joseph was called to host this holy event
Shepherds were lovers of nature, salt of the earth. The shepherds were rugged yet had a soft heart for animals. They were routinely going about their job when they received startling news that rocked their world: I bring you good news. The shepherds were thrilled yet in disbelief. They may have questioned whether they were even worthy. And through it all they remained willing. The shepherds were called as guests at this holy event.
The Magi were educated and wealthy. All was provided for them — shelter, food, equipment. They were specialist in the field of astronomy. The Magi were working for leaders of the country when they were drawn into news that rocked their world: Follow the star. They were doubtful and excited. Fearful of leaving their comforts. And through is all they were eager. The Magi were called as guests at this holy event.
Here is the ensemble gathered that around the manger on the first Christmas. They came open, obedient, willing and eager to worship the baby that rocked the world.
What does this mean for Christmas 2016? How do we prepare for this extraordinary event that has become ordinary? Who is God inviting us to host at this holy event?
Are there teenagers out there? Alone in their understanding of the world? Confused with their own identity, destiny? Disillusioned by adults making decisions that affect them? Dreamers needing space to dream and also needing direction?
What about the young adults ready to face the world? Naïve, asking only for a chance. They may seem brazen in their efforts. They are a clean canvas, the picture unfolding.
There are blue collar workers, minimum wage earners and people living in homelessness. Those who are hardworking and, perhaps, overworked. They long for validation, a voice, someone who will listen. Do you know someone who isn’t much for talking but all about doing? They are the folks on the outside waiting only for an invitation.
There are educated, wealthy folks who have it all. They can buy anything they want. They could by anything for anyone. Do you realize how many of them are isolated and insulated? It’s difficult for some to respond from the heart. They are known by name to many but known by heart to only a few. These are folks “at the top” waiting only for an invitation.
At the first Christmas, there was much diversity. A diversity of creatures. A diversity of gender, age, economics, education. What was the unifying agent? A baby born as Savior for all. The Son of God. God whose kingdom includes all.
Who is God bringing as guest to your Christmas? Whose world will you rock? Be open this Christmas — obedient and willing to follow where God leads. Your world might just be rocked!
Berni Kaufman is a Mennonite Women USA executive assistant. Berni is a resident of Moundridge, Kansas and also works at the Moundridge Public Library. She enjoys walking, reading and spending time with family and friends.