We’re going to shift gears for a moment here at SuccessCREEations because Christmas is one of those holidays when many folks travel to see family. Generosity is a little more acceptable during the Christmas season than at other times during the year. All kinds of interesting things can happen to folks along the way.
New stories are happening to folks all over the globe. And I’m not just talking about one of my favorite Christmas movies either.
Even though I looked a little like Ralphie as a kid with my blond hair and glasses, let the record show that I never actually wanted an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. Probably only because I didn’t know such a thing existed. If I had, I’m sure I would have wanted it.
Christmas today is seen as a Christian holiday. But the truth is Christians kinda annexed a pagan holiday, changed the name, flavored it to taste, and made it their own. We really don’t have any idea when Jesus was born. Sure the experts and Bible scholars have their theories and opinions. But in the final analysis we can’t be sure of the exact birthday.
In spite of our lack of precise knowledge on the subject of when, we do know a great deal about what happened that first Christmas season.
You hear people talk about the Christmas story. They may even read some words out of the Bible and tell you that’s what happened.
But they often leave some parts out.
Did you know that the Christmas story is really many little stories all playing out at the same time some 2,000 or so years ago in that little backwater corner of the Roman Empire and woven into the tapestry of the greater story?
That first Christmas is not just one story but many. Here are a few you might be less familiar with.
It’s a story of teen pregnancy with one young woman unsure of what the future held but pressing through doing the best she knew how.
It’s a story of difficult choices as a man had to figure out what to do when his fiancÃ© told him she was pregnant and he knew the child wasn’t his.
It’s a story of crushing government bureaucracy that required the entire western civilization to travel back to the home town of their ancestors so they could be counted for the census and properly taxed (no e-filing there.)
It’s a story of remarkable poverty for a couple that couldn’t afford proper shelter and was only allowed to sleep in a barn because she was nine months pregnant.
It’s a story of overwhelming fear as a group of night security guards were suddenly joined by a huge spirit army that told them not to be afraid but to look for a king born in a barn.
It’s a story of complete amazement as those security guards found that king in that barn just as the spirit army told them they would.
It’s a story of incredible wealth that was hand delivered by some highly educated foreigners who came to that barn with gifts fit for that king they sought because they found his birth predicted in books written eons earlier.
It’s a story of a ruthless ruler who didn’t want any challengers to the throne so he had his secret police kill every boy 2 years old and under who was born in the entire region just to be sure he got ’em.
It’s a story of political asylum as the father of that boy born in a barn ran with his family to another country just ahead of the ruler’s butchers.
It’s a story of overcoming odds to have that child survive at all despite the poverty, being born in rustic surroundings, and running from a ruthless hunter.
It’s a story that changed the world by starting one life that was so different, and had such a significant impact, that it ultimately became the pivot point for a whole globe’s calendar.
And those are just some of the stories that happened in people’s lives that first Christmas. Life is often a little messier and more complicated than a simple story that can be told by kids in bathrobes. But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can read all about it for yourself if you like.
Just like the rest of us have complicated lives, so did Jesus, the one whose birth is celebrated at Christmas.
As much as we focus on success here at SuccessCREEations, I know first hand how complicated life can be at times. Most of us don’t feel all that successful all the time. And sometimes it’s good to know we aren’t alone.
What’s your Christmas story?