Friday, December 30, 2005

Three Kings and a Baby

It came and went. Janie and I had a wonderful first-christmas together with our families. We had an early Christmas with the Myatts and an on-time Christmas with the Williams/Stovers. We played games, sang carols, exchanged gifts, danced and sang kareoke! What more could we ask for.

Now the sad part is upon us: the discarding of Christmas. As we take down our nativity sets and Christmas trees we return to normalcy. In our church we celebrate the church calendar which means Christmas is still upon us. Traditionally, December 25th marks the beginning of Christmastide, a 12 day season in the calendar (hence the 12 days of Christmas my true love gave to me; more on that later). The birth of Christ should be central during the entire season. Sadly, Janie and I have had difficulty with this because tradition demands distraction. I am thankful that we still have an entire season afterward to focus on the birth of Christ. We would like everyone who might check up on our blogspot to know how important this season is to us. A group of men, long ago, traveled through hell and high water (probably) to worship a king who they seemingly had no business worshiping: the God of Israel. The three wise men were probably more than three (the number three is due to the three gifts brought to Jesus). They had no business worshiping Yahweh because they were not Jewish. Janie and I are not Jewish either yet we are able to worship Christ. This fills us with tramendous joy: the God who spared a people by delivering them from bondage into a land flowing with milk and honey is also naming us with those he has spared. The birth or Jesus is significant not because he was a good man here only to teach us how to be better people, but because humanity is in bondage. The wise men knew this, otherwise they would have no need to worship a god not thier own. Prior to the birth of Jesus, hope from bondage was only in his coming. After the birth of Jesus hope that he came is the only hope from bondage. Without this hope, Christmas will only be the gathering of family and exchanging of gifts, originally intended to reflect the nativity and the coming of the wise men. Although these are worthing things to spend money on they pale in comparison to the celebration for which Christmas provides opportunity.

You may already know this but I wanted to share with you all how important this season is and has been to Janie and I. You may not share the hope that there is a God and that He became incarnate and took on flesh in order that He might offer himself as a ransom to become guilty of our wickedness and satisfy His own wrath. It saddens us that we cannot share the same joy in these things with all of you but if there is ever curiousity regarding why we do certain things at Christmas, please ask. We may or may not know, but we'll have a good time talking about it.

We love you all and hope you have a great and safe New Year. We certainly encourage the consumption of a moderate (if not slightly more-than-moderate) amount of libation to bring it in. This is a hard life but let us forget that for a night.

God bless you all.

Ben