When I hear people talking about wanting to go back to traditional Christmas celebrations, wanting to keep Christ in Christmas, I wonder what they mean.
- There is no mention in the Bible of how many wise men came looking for someone. There might have been three, but there might have been seven. Or five.
- Mary and Joseph did not follow the star.
- The manger probably was not made out of wood like the mangers in most nativity scenes.
- Jesus was not a light bulb, nor was he plastic.
- Drums are mentioned in the Bible, but there is no mention of a little drummer boy.
- There is no mention in the Bible of the birth of Jesus happening in the bleak midwinter.
- Most cities I have been in do not have silver bells on every corner.
- Notwithstanding “Away in a manger,” I am pretty sure that Jesus did, in fact, cry.
- The stable may have been part of the building and there is no evidence that it was a barn.
- The shepherds probably didn’t wear bathrobes.
- The innkeeper did find space and probably wasn’t being particularly mean in saying that there was no room.
- There may have been cedars around, but there probably weren’t any Norway or white pine or spruce trees within a semi-truck’s drive of Bethlehem.
- There was no Christmas program, no memorized lines.
We make the carols rhyme.
It happens all the time.
We think it sounds sublime.
But having babies hurts.
We add our little bit.
It helps the story fit
with what we want to get;
But that’s not the story.
I’m not a Christian Scrooge.
Have trees and a deluge
of gifts and stockings huge.
But later let’s talk.
A baby is a start,
and captivates the heart.
But there’s another part
of this story.