The Author

Late to Christmas

I have known for many years that, unlike so many Nativity scenes, those astrologers from the East were not at the stable when Jesus was born. No, that sacred moment was reserved for Joseph, Mary, those amazed shepherds, and some bumfuzzled animals who, if they could talk, would surely have asked what all the uproar was about. The Wise Men weren’t there, but they were on their way.

The journey was more than a little challenging since following a star is no easy task. I took astronomy in college and let’s just say that I’m sure I would have done better if I could have taken it again. With their training, charts, scientific instruments, and trust, they made the trip. But as for so many of us, God doesn’t always lead in a straight line, so they were a little late to the party.

Not only were they traveling by trust, they were opposed by powers who didn’t take God’s interests to heart. When you read the story, Herod is rightly described as a bad guy, but don’t give too much credit to those learned religious leaders who quoted scripture. They may not have spoken for publication, but the idea that their world was about to be interrupted by a God who actually kept promises had to be unsettling. If you read the story all the way to the end, you will discover that those who quoted scripture also opposed Jesus. They were in no hurry to see a new king ascend the throne. With all of these stumbling blocks, it is a wonder that these wise ones were able to get to Jesus at all.

But get there they did. As they followed the star and the directions of the prophecy, they came to the house where Jesus and Mary were staying. Whether it was family property or a rental is beside the point. The hubbub of the stable, the milling animals, the excited shepherds, the newly anxious parents – all were past. Now, child and mother were safely kept, making the adjustments that come from being newborn and new mother.

We are not told whether it was a knock on the door or the sound of the crowd outside, but the quietness of new life was broken by these who came when everyone else had left. I can see amazement on the faces of those who had finally reached their destination; I can hear apologies for the lateness of the hour; I can imagine a voice saying, “The hour doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are here.” And they bowed and worshiped.

Christmas is upon us. Some of us have been there for weeks. Others of us are still finding our way. Some of us will read this before the day, others after. What I pray that all of us realize is that when we get there doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are there. And that we bow down and worship.

Blessings, Sam