I'm always intrigued by the Christmas narrative...more so by what I see between the lines. I don't know where the Gospel writers got there stories from? Did Mary tell the intimate details of the wonderous birth, or did Jesus tell the stories Mom had passed down to him? The accounts seem so chronological, so sterile...they seem so drained of the human emotion that ceratinly must have been there.
Mary and Joseph lived in a close knit community...it would have been pretty hard to hide your dirty laundry. They were probably in their late teens, engaged...probably spent nights walking hand in hand under the desert moon, talking about their hopes, plans and future together. Then God throws this curve ball into their lives...the baby. You know the type of questions that would be going around the community...irresponsible teenagers, premarital sex, poor parenting...they've made the community look bad.
Joseph's thinking, Heck...premarital sex, there was no sex involved...I'm not even the father. What do I do, pack up and leave...this is Mary's problem. Another single Mom raising a kid on her own. But this amazing young couple sticks it out. I love Mary's response, "I am the Lord's servant, I willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true." I'm guessing it could not have been easy for them, in the midst of romour and gossip.
Then there was the journey to Bethlehem for the census. the image we seem to get from Lukes story...is one of being cast out, the loneliness of the stable...the image of their only friends being the farm animals. But if this was census time, Bethlehem must have been filled to the rafters with friends, family and relatives...that maybe hadn't been seen for years. There would have been wine, song, the telling of old family stories...and potluck dinners. Sort of like our family Christmas get togethers. Any way, that's the image that comes to my mind...unless thay were completely dis-owned by their family and friends.
Then the birth, the God child...Mary and Joseph embracing God in the flesh...and at the same time wrapped up in their hopes and dreams. Wondering if this really was who God said it was. A distant song rolling over the hill tops, " Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors." Then Shepherds running to the scene...with sheep trailing behind. This star that seemed to be moving across the black screen of nite, like a lazer pointer. The Wise men, the gifts...Gold ( wealth, royalty, a king)...Francinsence ( divinty, holiness, the annointed one)...and Myyrh ( death). I wonder if Mary and Joseph really understood the signifigance and symbolism of the Gifts. Or whether they were just captured in the moment of knowing God was with them...and with us...and lived out of that moment with all their hopes and dreams. And God also living out of that moment, dreaming of redeeming a world...making it new again.