Wiseman and Women

Well Christmas has almost arrived and, as the Carol says, 'the hopes and fears of all the years' seem to be held in it's magic.

Our hopes are that we humans might have learnt from the previous year's mistake and do better in the future. Our fears are perhaps that it will be just more of the same.

So what can we gain from the Christmas story?

There were shepherds, which doesn't seem unreasonable seeing that the central location was a stable. A GNVQ in animal care would seem a handy thing to have at such a time.

We have angels running an all night party. The fact that they started their conversation with the phrase 'do not fear' shows something of their commitment to a good show.

We have magi from the east on some kind of first century gap year. They had followed a star that was pointing to a significant event. Gap year students are so easily lead by bright lights.

Then we have a young couple with a new baby living in a single room. They had already had transport issues leading them to have to travel by donkey.

Perhaps they should have known that Christmas is a busy time to take a journey.

It has the makings of a great story.

So what have we made of it. Well for one it has been relegated to being a U certificate. It's been cleaned up for the kids.

Perhaps we have so overdosed on finding tea towels for prospective shepherds that Herod's attempt at infanticide has been left on the cutting room floor.

The typical school nativity play seems a long way from such things.

The central characters were in essence asylum seekers in a foreign land for a few years after the arrival of their first born.

I wonder if the locals ever blamed them for 'taking our jobs'. I could imagine the local carpenters union being up in arms about the whole thing.

The most amazing thing is that the story has lasted for two thousand years.

Perhaps the most shocking aspect is that it is full of themes that seem all two familiar to our modern life.

What we need is a fat guy in a red outfit to distract us from such serious thoughts. Throw in a few elves and the sound of slay bells and we will soon forget that the shepherds were given a serious fright by what they saw. Let alone that the Wisemen had to return home by a different route.

I wonder if the nativity story still has the power to give us a wake up call and demand a change of direction for 2010.

Wise men (and women) take note!

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