Monday, December 5, 2011

Nothing New

Brush your teeth.
Use soap and shampoo when you bathe.
It's 30 degrees outside with wind and rain. Put on your winter jacket.

These are phrases that have become part of the never-ending mantra of the adult lives in this house.

These are the phrases that our parents, and their parents, and their parents before them used on us and those all the way up the line that begot us.

Which just goes to prove that history DOES repeat itself and there is nothing new under the sun.

During this season of retelling the tale of Christ's birth, I've realized that the story hasn't changed in over 2,000 years; it is nothing new. Like our mantra to our children, it has been heard over-and-over again until the hearer can almost repeat it verbatim.

And that's the issue, if we let it become one.

The story of Christ isn't frilly or exciting or a page-turner in and of itself. It is a quiet recalling of a private birth between a husband and wife that just happened to change the world.

But, when you examine the story more fully, you realize there is something new to be explored. And, not just this year, but every year.

Have you stopped to think how Mary felt? Not much at all is said about her but she was a pregnant, virgin teenager giving birth amongst animals. Likely, Joseph wasn't much help in bringing Jesus into the world because that was a woman's job. But, we have no evidence that any woman helped Mary.

Can you imagine squatting amongst hay and the smell of animals and their waste to give birth to God's son? I can't even imagine doing that with a human baby. But, Mary did.

Can you imagine the first time she looked into the face of God? The relief that this journey of pregnancy was over, that the baby was safely outside her body, and that she could hold Him and get some rest?

Can you imagine? Because that is where the story becomes new.

When you talk with your children this Advent about the Christmas story, get their imaginations going. See if they can run with you through the feelings of the different players. How did Joseph feel? Did the cows move as Mary cried out while she gave birth or did they stubbornly stand their ground? Were there chickens or pigs or goats around?

Talk about your nativity set and the fact that it is odd that we picture Jesus as a newborn baby with the Three Wise Men standing with gifts when, in fact, they probably arrived when he was a toddler.

See if your children can feel the story behind the song "Little Drummer Boy". How would THEY have felt playing a song for baby Jesus? Would they have been scared? Excited? Nervous?

It's time to make everything under the sun new again. It's time to stretch our imaginations and think about that scene, so long ago, in such poor conditions, where our Lord entered this Earthly realm. It's time to feel empathy for the players and really try to connect with them.

It's time.

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