We will be wading through Thanksgiving left-overs for the next few days as we go camping, but our thoughts are already turning to Christmas. In fact, I hope to change our decorations this Sunday.
Early this morning I read a very thought-provoking article in the December issue of the Christian Science Journal. It talks about the two accounts of the Nativity given in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Those are our source for many of the things we celebrate during the holidays; Mary's conception of the holy child, the angel Gabriel visiting her and Joseph, the journey to Bethlehem, the birth in a lowly stable, visits from shepherds and angels, a bright star overhead. I love all the details and once spent a year studying the story. How I wish I had this article then because it introduces something I never thought about before, a third version of this famous nativity and a way to relate that to my own children.
The writer refers to the gospel of John, the most spiritual of the Gospels. Do you know the first three words of the Bible, found in Genesis One? They are 'In the beginning....'. That is how John opens his account of Jesus life, "In the beginning". Perhaps John is encouraging us to see Jesus, and ourselves, from a more spiritual viewpoint connected with that first account of creation given in Genesis One. Man created in the image and likeness of God, the only Parent.
I have three amazing children, all grown now and busy with families of their own. They grew to become exceptional people with many gifts and talents, and each possesses sweet and generous natures. They are so dear to me and show me how they feel about me in countless ways. I hold in my heart precious memories of their nativities, special details only their mother would know. For many years, I loved to tell them the story of their birth when we celebrated that day. My daughter does that with her children now. It would appear that Mary shared some of those precious moments with Luke, a Greek historian and doctor who became a chronicler of Jesus and Christianity. One can almost imagine them sitting together with Luke asking her what it was like when she discovered she was carrying this child and any details she could share about the trip to Bethlehem.
Those are the things most of us believe about Christmas and I cherish them. But I am quite awed this morning to have this article show me a new way to think about the whole story, a way that allows me to lift my concept of myself, my own nativity story, and my children. A way to connect us to Genesis One and our true Parent. That is something very worth celebrating in the coming weeks. It is a gentle reminder of my true identity as God's beloved daughter. Angels also sang for me. And for my children who are really His children. And for you. Merry Christmas.