As I walk my dog, I see my neighbors have put out Nativity scenes for Christmas. Mary kneels before the manger, and Joseph stands above them looking kind and protective. Little tiny plastic Jesus, a baby, also “an everlasting light—the hopes and fears of all the years.”
I think that’s a lot of pressure. He’s just a baby! Really, this time of year it’s about Mary. And Joseph. It’s about family.
Whatever else Christmas means, most people agree it is about family. We’re supposed to get together and be peaceful, with goodwill for all mankind including and especially your family.
Families are so very ordinary. Christmas is a time to celebrate them, and appreciate them. The story of a baby has a lot to do with that. Celebrating and appreciating a newborn is an art. They are so helpless and needy! They have nothing to give but themselves.
But the story goes that Jesus—baby Jesus—had salvation to give. But not at first. At first, it was Mary giving. She gave birth, and she and Joseph gave little Jesus an upbringing.
That is a clear and apparent kind of salvation. That’s the saving grace that all good families give. Food. Shelter. Sustenance. Love. Hopefully more than the basics. All these family things that are simply expected. Singing the favorite song to lull some little one to sleep. Giving a parent a drink—Mom’s flavored coffee or Dad’s favorite beer. Or giving the dog her walk.
The song says:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appeared
And the soul felt its worth
The weary world rejoices!
There are many, many times that I flop down in sin and error pining, particularly at the end of the day. If it’s a very trying day, it I might start pining in error earlier. I can pine for some comfort, pine for the better person I have not yet become.
And then my baby appears. If I let it, my soul can feel its worth. To her, I mean so much. My sin and error are insignificant in light of her love. She is always ecstatic to see me! For her I can muster up whatever I must to give her back the love she needs.
If I remember not to be too self-centered, my husband can do the same thing for me. He shows up and reminds me of my worth, at least to him, and our weary world can rejoice again.
Jesus brought salvation, but his family brought salvation to him first. And we bring salvation to each other as well. How did you think peace on earth and goodwill towards men were supposed to happen?
Salvation begins by burping a little baby. And by kindness to your family. Salvation to my dog is walking her, even when it’s cold. You wouldn’t believe how happy that makes her! It’s the ordinary, insignificant things that add up.
Be the savior in your circle of loved ones, and let them redeem you.
Merry Christmas, everyone!Powered by Sidelines