Consider for a moment you are in Bethlehem, seated at a dinner table with others that have also traveled back to their home town to register for a new tax. You’re weary from the journey, but the innkeeper is gracious, the food is plentiful, and the wine is good. Suddenly there is a rap at the door. Curiously you lean forward in your chair to see who is calling. The innkeeper turns the young couple away as he has room for them. He returns to the table, but his steps are slow, as if deep thought has consumed more of him than the notion of moving forward.
“It was Joseph and Mary, do any of you remember them?”
The man sitting next to you speaks quickly.
“I’ve know Joseph’s father for years, what a disappointment the two of them must be; Mary, carrying a child that is not her husbands, and Joseph too blind to see the truth standing before him. Do you know each of them claim to have been visited by angels…..heavenly bodies indeed!”
The others seem to share his opinion, or perhaps they see no danger in combining too much wine with gossip. Suddenly the table is abuzz with sharp words and ugly innuendos. The inn keeper is troubled by this and excuses himself. You join him outside for a breath of fresh air. He notices he is not alone and addresses you.
“Do you know the couple, and surely you have something to say as well.”
As at the table you keep to yourself and simply point to a brilliant star overhead. You suspect there is something special about this night in Bethlehem, something that transcends the understanding of man, yet was designed specifically for his rescue. As you consider the depth of the night, a chorus of a thousand angels floats down from above; each of them proclaiming the arrival of their King. You understand little of what has transpired, but for now it is enough to know those still inside the inn are profoundly mistaken.
We all want our holiday gatherings to be perfect, like a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting. While such imagery warms our hearts, in reality the perfectness of it does not exist. Even the arrival of our Savior came under less than ideal conditions. Although the Bible does not speak to it, I’m certain that Joseph, Mary, and their parents endured some level of ridicule and humiliation, but their faith in God was greater.
Put aside what the world tells you Christmas should be. Rest assured in your faith that God did send his Son by way of Immaculate Conception, selecting earthly parents who were pure commoners for an unprecedented arrival…that the baby Jesus did have a resting place in a feed trough, and the only thing perfect and flawless on that night, was the one true savior of the world.