"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city." (Luke 2:1-3)
The mighty Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, seeing that the economy needed a boost -- made a decree that threw the ancient world into an upheaval of inconvenient travel and disgruntled activity. And thus was born what has been with us to this very day -- the hustle and bustle of Christmas.
Philip Yancey, in The Jesus I Never Knew, writes, "“Sorting through the stack of cards that arrived at our house last Christmas, I noted that all kinds of symbols have edged their way into the celebration.
"Overwhelmingly, the landscape scenes render New England towns buried in snow, usually with the added touch of a horse-drawn sleigh. On other cards, animals frolic: not only reindeer, but also chipmunks, raccoons, cardinals, and cute gray mice. One card shows an African lion reclining with a foreleg draped affectionately around a lamb.
“Angles have made a huge comeback in recent years, and Hallmark and American Greetings now feature them prominently, though as demure, cuddly-looking creatures, not the type who would ever need to announce “Fear not!” The explicitly religious cards (a distinct minority) focus on the holy family, and you can tell at a glance these folks are different. They seem unruffled and serene. Bright gold halos, like crowns from another world, hover just above their heads.
“Inside, the cards stress sunny words like love, goodwill, cheer, happiness, and warmth. It is a fine thing, I suppose, that we honor a sacred holiday with such homey sentiments. And yet when I turn to the gospel accounts of the first Christmas, I hear a very different tone and sense mainly disruption at work.”
But, as I will point out tomorrow, there is a very specific reason for this great disruption. One that will amaze you, and lift your faith higher in these tumultuous days in which we now live.
See you tomorrow.