The Christmas season is upon us, and regardless of who we are we all need gentle reminders to not lose our bearings. The article below by Dr. John Elton Pletcher, pastor at Manor Church in Lancaster, PA, provides this nudge. He goes further to challenge readers to “remember who we are celebrating and with whom we celebrate this Christmas.” Happy reading and keep your eyes on Jesus.
REMEMBERING WHO WE ARE
CELEBRATING & WITH WHOM WE CELEBRATE THIS CHRISTMAS
by Dr. John Elton Pletcher
Panic! Perhaps you’re feeling it. The countdown is on. Holidays are quickly approaching. Family and friends are coming! There might be decorating to finish, food to prepare, tables to set, plus dusting and dog fur to vacuum. If you’re hosting at your house this year, you’re likely feeling some pressure. If a gaggle of family is invading, you’re likely thinking, “How will I get it all done?”
And perhaps there’s also that haunting thought: “Will family and friends be duly impressed?” How can you do it all and avoid being stressed? Shift your focus for just a few minutes.
Let’s join the Wise Men and ponder one sentence in their story:
On coming to the house, they saw the child… (Matt. 2:11).
Not a Stable?
Most of the time, we meld the Magi into the same nighttime scene with the shepherds, a non-hospitable inn keeper, the pa-rum pum pum pum-ing of an annoying little drummer boy, plus the heavenly choir of angels. However, Matthew very specifically notes the Magi’s arrival at a house in Bethlehem. In Luke’s account, a manger is mentioned. That’s led readers across the centuries to the assumption there was a stable-like place. Historically, some have even suggested that a cave might have served as a barn or stable.
But for the Magi’s arrival, Matthew distinctly notes their arrival at an oikian, a house. Based on the additional timing clues in our story (vs. 7 and 16), it’s solid to conclude that Jesus was somewhere between one and two years old. Matthew refers to him as a “young child.” The Jesus these Wise Men found is a tiny boy.
Crosland Stuart, of Crosland & Company, LLC, works with The Collaborative on marketing, recruiting, and content creation. Additionally, she also works in the areas of foundation consulting, communications, and is a literary agent.