We get our news usually moments after it happens. Imagine for a few minutes the story of Jesus’ birth happening in 2015. What would our expectation regarding this major event be in today’s world of news?
Fictional story: Luke Walker worked for the Times most of his career. He is the lead reporter on their big stories. He covers elections, war zones, big disasters such as the downfall of the auto industry, the story about AIG being aided by the government; in short, he’s the go-to guy for exciting news. Sitting in the meeting with his coworkers discussing the top news stories of the day, he begins addressing his editor. “So boss, what’s this assignment I heard about heading to Jerusalem to cover a story about a young couple giving birth to a baby boy in a manger. Is this for real?”
“It came off the headlines. Supposedly there’s an unruly leader (Harod, I think he’s called) that chased them out of town so they left on a donkey. The woman was fully pregnant so they travelled the six miles to a town called Bethlehem walking and riding on a donkey while she was in full-on labor. When they arrived they were not able to get a room so the baby was born in a cave.”
“Seriously boss. And this is news how?”
“Well there’s been reported a bright star in the sky for some time. This is so that people can come see for themselves. He’s like a miracle kid. Supposedly, he is the Savior of the world.” Laughter could be heard around the table.
Luke was getting a little embarrassed. “Hey, don’t laugh, we could use a Savior in this crazy world. I’ll make the arrangements and let you all know what I learn.” Luke made arrangements for his trip to Jerusalem and his ride to Bethlehem.
When he arrived in Bethlehem he saw the “holy family” in the cave trying to stay warm. The woman, Mary, looked tired but very serene. Her husband, Joseph was engaging to the visitors. The baby was named Jesus. You knew the moment you stepped into the cave that this was no ordinary occurrence. There were three kings who had brought gifts for this “Savior.” The scene captivated you the minute you stepped inside. Imagine someone being born who would save the world and bring everyone the opportunity for complete happiness one day. Truly a breathtaking scene here! There were angels singing above the manger that was the baby’s bed.
Luke walked over to the inn to begin writing his story. He bumped into two other reporters, Matt from Newsweek and Mark from the Washington Post. They heard that their friend John from Time magazine was on his way. All three just looked at each other and nodded. This was going to be quite a story. They imagined that the internet was going to be buzzing once they filed their stories.
Luke began wondering how he would approach his story. These were his thoughts. Imagine for a few minutes the silent empty cave where Mary and Joseph were making ready for the entrance of the birth of Jesus after what must have been a difficult and painful journey. Later they were visited by three kings who were following the bright Star for the purpose of bringing gifts to a newborn king. This child came as a gift from God. He did not choose a rich family to have Jesus; he chose a poor one. He did not choose a castle for this King to be born in. Jesus could have been born in a bed of silk sheets and surrounded by luxury but God wanted this King to be a leader of all men. This new King was to be poor. He was to be King to all. And so this is the story Luke sent to his editor:
HEADLINE: The Bible
“So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee for Judaea, to David’s town called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. Now it happened that, while they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the living-space. In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night.
An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone ’round them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. All at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words. Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those he favors.” Luke 2: 4-14
Luke Walker was changed. He was changed after seeing and learning of the story of Jesus. He submitted his story to his editor and then made arrangements to be with his family. He would need to look at life with a new outlook of faith. It wouldn’t be easy, but this story changed him and he imagined would eventually change the world. Luke decided to add his own editorial to his story.
God could have made life easy for Mary and Joseph instead of giving them so many hardships just to keep them all safe. God wanted us to learn that the path back to Him was through this Jesus. He wanted us to know that Jesus endured all of these hardships to show his love for all of us. That is what Christmas means. It is the spirit of love that is Christmas. God’s love for us and therefore, the love we show each other. (Luke)
So now 2,000 + years later, the story is the same. The birth of Jesus in 2015 is about His birth inside each of us.
Let’s look at the true meaning of Christmas and examine what we as Catholics can do to renew the holiday joy! Christmas should be a season of pure joy. It is the time when God shows His love of us by sending our Savior, Jesus to us. Father Dave quoted something at Mass this week that I thought embodies the true meaning of Christmas. “Nobody gets into heaven without a letter of reference from the poor.” J. Forbes
Is it possible that that we can experience the true meaning of Christmas by giving of ourselves even more this Christmas?
On the journey of our lives, we love in our limited capacity. We find passion and compassion which is a reflection, an extension and expression of God’s love. I think as Catholics we should look at Christmas as a time of spiritual renewal and invite Jesus to help us through all of our life choices, even the wrong ones. We should remind ourselves to trust that Jesus will provide us with answers even though sometimes we know the answer will be no or not now! I know that when we are willing to do this, then we can reach out to others.
What a beautiful example our Father gave us in the person of His son, Jesus and the gift of his unending grace.
Copyright 2015 Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh