I am going to use the characters in the Christmas story to discuss 7 groups of people that we need to remember here at the holiday season. Why only seven? Well, Jesus is the eighth and He doesn’t represent anyone but Himself.
- Jesus—The “Reason for the Season”, right? I won’t get on my soapbox about the commercialization of Christmas or the abuse of the holiday. I will just simply state that He IS the very reason for Christmas whether we acknowledge it or not, and it would be in our best interest to do so.
- Mary—Ahhh….how can we sum up Mary? She was a scared girl. She was asked to face a lot of hardship. She was called to carry a child out of wedlock in the face of a society where it was greatly shunned. She was asked to love a child that would be hated by His society. She was asked to give her heart away to a son who would be murdered one day by the very people He came to love. She was asked to do a number of tasks, and she accepted her lot in life humbly, obediently, and willingly. She gave her heart to a task that would one day break it. Let’s remember those who give their entire life breathing on this earth to following through with God’s place, regardless of how much they will sacrifice to do so.
- Joseph—Joseph was a man entrusted with a great task. He was expected to provide for his family as the man of the household. Greater than that, he was to take his meager occupation and use it to raise the very Son of God. He was called to be the father of the Son. He had a great task ahead of him with limited resources. He was the one that God entrusted His Son to while on this earth. He was given the task to be a role-model within his own means. Let’s remember those who are working hard to provide for their families and doing the best with what they have been given.
- 3 Wise Men/Kings/Magi—Remember when Jesus noted that to those who have been given much that much will be expected? The Magi are representative of those people. You see, they were scholars and very wealthy men in their day. They had been gifted with both talents and resources and both were used to honor Jesus for Christmas. They brought Him gifts acknowledging their submission as well as who He was. They were obedient to God and used their wealth to give to Him. Let’s remember those who, despite their wealth, can humble themselves before the King.
- Shepherds—This lowly group of men were considered one of the lowest caste in society. However, if you will note, they were the first to hear the news of Christ’s birth. God remembered the lowly and even honored them by sending messengers directly to them. They honored Him in turn by proclaiming the good news to all they came in contact with. I’m sure that those who would not have been told by the rich and powerful got the message that night when they might have otherwise never known. Let’s remember that the very least in our midst might be mighty members of God’s creation.
- Angels—The very messengers of God. His creation. They proclaimed in God’s glory the announcement of Jesus’ birth. We should remember those who have been called to share the news of Jesus. May they only use their proclamations to draw attention to the center of the festivities.
- Innkeeper—There was no actual innkeeper in the Bible, but we have always created one in the stories since there was an inn, so someone must have been running the place. It’s sad that since it was time for the census that Joseph & Mary were turned away due to an overcrowding in the tiny town of Bethlehem. Let’s remember those who are so focused on the busyness and chaos of this life that we neglect to see what is really happening in their very midst. They need our prayers for peace and calm.
- Donkey—The true ministry tool of this story. The donkey was a beast of burden and used to carry Mary, Joseph & their belongings to Bethlehem. Let’s remember that there are many ministries in the world working to bring Christ to a dark world in a very real, hands-on way. They are loving through tasks and deeds because that is what they have been called to do. As with the donkey, they might get no true high praise from men on this earth, but the recipient of their works will never forget them.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Photo credit: bishopitalia