Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Nativity Story

We watched the movie: The Nativity Story. About 70 or so people came. Children, youth, and adults all came. And, when it was over, we all had wet eyes. It is one of the most moving movies on the Christmas story that I have ever seen.

It is beautiful in its simplicity, just like the Christmas story itself. A young mother, a really young mother and an older Joseph are married. Their marriage is arranged, as all marriages are arranged back then. Mary and Joseph both see angels and hear them speaking. Mary is pregnant, “with child” as the King James version says it.

Her would-be husband is astounded at it. Her parents are embarrassed. The community gossips and points. Still Mary maintains she has done nothing wrong.

In the middle of it, an order comes from Caesar that everyone should return to the town of their origin to register for the tax. Joseph and pregnant Mary start out; she is riding a donkey. He is walking, leading the donkey.

There’s a wonderful scene when they get to Bethlehem. Mary is just about to give birth. In desperation, Joseph carries Mary in his arms from door to door asking for a place to stay. An innkeeper tells them that he only has room in the cave, where the animals lodge.

Within minutes, Mary delivers the baby Jesus and Jesus is laid in a manger. Heavenly visitors have proclaimed to the shepherds that Jesus the Savior is born. Astrologers from the east arrive after months of tracking a star.

The whole thing ends with Mary and Joseph running to Egypt to escape the furor of Herod. It’s a simple, wonderful story of love and hate, of violence and peace, of suffering and joy.

One person said that they had forgotten just how hard people back then had to live. But mostly it was the simplicity of a mother expecting a baby and a husband remaining faithful. It was the simplicity of a God who comes into the world, not by going down to capital city, nor to the religious and political leaders, but to Bethlehem to a simple couple.

The God whom we worship and adore is just the kind of god who makes his appearance in the filthiest place in the world, in the place where animals lodge. Every baby is a miracle, but this baby is Savior of the world. This one is the Redeemer in flesh.

In the midst of a world of turmoil and violence and change, in a world of hatred and bitterness, in a world of darkness, like our world, the Messiah is born. Listen as the baby cries in the night. There are so many babies crying on this night. But, this baby cries so that no one ever will have to cry in the night again- without hope.

Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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