One of the places I love to sit this time of year is in my family room, staring at the fireplace, my favorite nativity scene decorating the mantle. I like to take a break from the busy, to sit and to ponder. That pretty little nativity scene and a roaring fire brings a sense of peace and contentment to my soul. That perfectly placed little scene may be a good reminder of the event we commemorate every December, but is it really a good depiction of the actual event? I began to think of what Christmas would look like here and today…
Before I go on, please note that while I do have political opinions, this modern day take on the account of Jesus’ birth is not in an effort to share them. I am simply using current people, places, and events. I also didn’t change everything that could have been given a modern day twist as to keep the story somewhat familiar.
In those days the powers that be issued a decree that a holiday should be celebrated around the entire western world. And everyone went to their own town to eat a meal and exchange gifts with family and friends.
So, Joseph also went up from the town of Columbus in Ohio to Michigan, to Jackson, because he had grown up there. He went there with Mary, who was engaged to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in drop cloths and placed him in a plastic tote in the garage, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were veterans selling toothpick flags living under a bridge nearby, keeping watch over their discarded shopping carts at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of Jackson a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in drop cloths and lying in a plastic tote.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the veterans said to one another, “Let’s go to Jackson and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the tote. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the veterans said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The veterans returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
When it came time for the birth certificate to be filled out, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
After Jesus was born in Jackson in Michigan, during the time of Donald Trump, Wall Street analysts came to Washington and asked, “Where is the one who has been born leader of the Jews? We saw signs of a change in the stock market that indicated a significant birth and have come to worship him.”
When President Trump heard this he was disturbed, and all Washington with him. When he had called together all of the experts and his top advisers, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Jackson in Michigan,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Jackson, in the land of Michigan,
are by no means least among the leaders of Michigan;
for out of you will come a leader
who will guide my people Israel.’”
Then Trump called the Wall Street analysts secretly and found out from them the exact time market indicators had changed. He sent them to Jackson and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the president, they went on their way until they found the place where the child was. They were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they stood in somber silence and worshiped him. Then they opened their briefcases and presented him with bitcoin, savings bonds, and the most expensive essential oils. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Trump, they returned to by another route.
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Canada. Stay there until I tell you, for Trump is going to search for the child to take him.”
So, he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Canada, where he stayed until the election of a new president. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Canada I called my son.”
When Trump realized that he had been outwitted by the Wall Street analysts, he was furious, and he gave orders to separate from their parents all the boys in Jackson and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the analysts. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“A voice is heard in St. Augustine,
weeping and great mourning,
Mothers weeping for their children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.” *
Wow! That’s hardly pretty and peaceful. In fact, it sounds downright absurd! I personally (opinion, lest anyone freak out) don’t like when negative adjectives are used to describe God’s character (reckless love, ridiculous grace), but from the human perspective when we think of royalty being born in private hospitals, appearing to the world through television and internet on the steps of said hospital, held by perfectly dressed Kate with proud papa Prince William at her side, this definitely seems nonsensical.
Yet, this is what happened. Jesus wasn’t born in a comfortable home, but in a stable. Jesus’ birth wasn’t declared to the rich and powerful, but to lowly shepherds. A powerful ruler was scared of a BABY, so scared that he did the unthinkable. And so was the humble beginning of Emmanuel (God with us), God incarnate, God in human form, God who understands every trial we will go through from our very beginning, God who knows what it is like to be oppressed, who has experienced being on the run, God whose coming begins an incredible journey that culminates with His death and resurrection, whose return we can await with anticipation if we surrender our will and receive the love he freely gives. THIS is Christmas!!
*The parts of this story that sound familiar are taken from Matthew 2 and Luke 2, New International Version