Today, we tell of The First Story, making it a celebration of pomp, an affair of gold-embroidered vestments and costly columns and altars of marble, and choruses of choirs, of jeweled windows and incense, of the extreme abundance of gifting and getting.
Yet, we are unable to find and feel the simple spiritually edifying peace and pleasure in the formerly plain and humble stable. The brown-haired, grave-eyed peasant girl, with her little baby, unable to see the beauty in the crumbling mud walls and the low ceiling of the stable, where the only incense was the sweet smell of the cow's breath.
The only vestments were the baby's swaddling clothes, rough, coarse, fibered from the hand looms of Nazareth.
The only pomp were the simple gifts of three men, the only chorusing was the quiet crooning of a young mother holding her first-born babe upon her breast.
A little child lies in the midst of the stable with simple people, his mother and father, and three travelers, who were led there by a star in the night. Here lies a little child who would come to stand among wise men and the learned.
They would be gently taught, not to be of selfish conscience and to be defined only by their riches, but to explore the unplumbed depths of the human heart, to set aside their learning, their wisdom, and their earthly mammon, so that in the end, after all trial has been made and every expedient tested, they would discover that the simplest way is the best, and humblest means the surest.
It was this little baby, who would become our most profound community organizer, whose only act of aggression was turning over the tables of the money-changers in the Temple in Jerusalem, who would change the heart of man by teaching the enduring loving spirit of justice and mercy for all mankind.
It was the helpless child in the stable, whose first bed was a feed-box for animals that would come to spark the mind of man, a spark that would kindle the world with the flame of eternal light.
The little child, who was to be the bread of life for human beings, who sacrificed his life at the age of 33, tenderly taught that each of us must always offer our gifts of loving kindness, warm hearts, and the out-stretched hand of tolerance and love.
He showed mankind how love and altruism will always surpass individual greed, and that justice for all was truly the moral test of our spirituality, the simple gifts that make peace on earth, our transcendent duty, our Christmas Story.
By: Tim Duff Tonka Bay, Minnesota