Where have you found yourself in the Christmas story this year?
. . .
Some years I’ve been like the wise men. Seeking. Searching for a sign. Stranger in a strange land.
Some years I’ve been like the shepherds. Having to trust what others have told. Wondering what to believe.
Some years I’ve been like the animals. Simply witnessing the strange events taking shape before me.
Some years I’ve been like the innkeeper. Turning away, no room to offer. Too busy, too focused on my own concerns. Unwilling to open the door.
Some years I’ve been like Mary. Full of love but exhausted by its demands. Wondering what has been asked of me.
Some years I’ve been like Joseph. Struggling to fulfill my roles and responsibilities. Troubled at how my call has changed in ways I never imagined.
. . .
Scripture gives us many windows to enter the story, many shoes in which to slip our feet. And since every year is different, we come back to Christmas changed. Wondering where to find ourselves this time.
Sometimes we come bearing gifts; sometimes with empty hands. Sometimes we know for certain what we are seeking; other times we are wandering and lost. Some years are full of joy; others are deeply troubled. Some years we delight in birth; others are overshadowed by death. Some years the manger is our happy end; for others it is just the beginning.
But no matter where we find ourselves, the stable has room for us. And we only begin to grasp the mystery when we have approached the manger from all sides.
“Do we not all want to become shepherds and catch sight of the angel? I think so. Without the perspective of the poor, we see nothing, not even an angel. When we approach the poor, our values and goals change. The child appears in many other children. Mary also seeks sanctuary among us. Because the angels sing, the shepherds rise, leave their fears behind, and set out for Bethlehem, wherever it is situated these days.”