Today we celebrate the birth of a man from Galilee. This man was born, as all of us are, as a small helpless being, dependent on the care and protection of a mother and father.
This child was born in a stable on a journey decreed by a Roman emperor in order for an accurate taxpayer’s census to be prepared. In the times of Caesar Augustus expectant mothers were not allowed the luxury of staying at home during a census. Paying taxes was more important to the Roman Empire than the birth of a child.
Shepherds, due to a lack of education and wealth, were considered the lowliest members of a community. It was shepherds, though, who first recognized the birth of a child who would become the Prince of Peace.
Wise Men, kings from other countries, journeyed to bring gifts to this child. These kings realized the potential of this child. Another King, believing that the prophecy of the birth of the “King of Kings” had been fulfilled, ordered the slaughter of all male children under the age of three in his kingdom.
To protect their child, Mary and Joseph left their home, their family, and their livelihood. This child and his parents fled to Egypt to escape King Herod’s murderous edict.
At the age of twelve, this child’s parents allowed him to follow his desire of becoming a rabbi, even though he would spend most of his adult life as a carpenter. The last three years of his life, from the age of thirty, this child traveled from city to city with his followers and students. He talked to people about how to be kind to one another and how to have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. His teachings were considered treason by the governing powers at the time, and he was sentenced to death.
Today we celebrate the birth of a man from Galilee. In our celebration let us remember that we all are born as children of God with enormous potential that even a simple uneducated person, such as a shepherd, can comprehend.
In our merrymaking let us remember that each of us has possibilities that should be encouraged by those in our world who are in positions of wisdom, wealth and influence. Those of us who hold these positions of power should seek to share our gifts and offer them to our children, as the Wise Men did.
We need to be prepared to protect our children from the treachery and greed of those who would be the King Herod’s in our world.
Using Mary and Joseph as our models, we need to trust our children to follow their paths and believe in our children’s and our own unique abilities to heal the world.
Every person on our planet is born a child. No matter what our beliefs in terms of religion, nationality or faith, the message of the child called Jesus speaks to us all, if only we will listen. The message is simple.
Jesus said that the two most important acts we can perform in the world are these:
Love the Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
A message simple enough for a child to understand.
For unto us a child is born. We need to remember that each of us is that child.
God bless us, everyone.
First published December 25, 2007.