Originally, I was going to write about the war on Christmas.
About how, yes, we need to know what the holiday is all about — the human birth of the Son of God — and how I like to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.”
And then I was going to write about the war on the war on Christmas.
About how we shouldn’t be Scrooges. Shouldn’t rage against Santa and commercialism and the forever-tangled strings of Christmas light. We don’t need to bemoan what “they’re” doing to Christmas, because even if the season can be corrupted in a store or on television, it can’t be corrupted in the Word.
Then it dawned on me to write a post I would call “The truce in the war on the war on Christmas.” (Working title.)
This would be about dropping the whole argument, because Christmas is a time for joy, not infighting.
Each of these posts was nixed because the first two are overdone and wander toward extremes, and the third idea doesn’t leave much to say except, “Leave it alone. Go drink some eggnog.” Not to mention that cumbersome title.
* * *
If a blog can’t be edgy, the next best thing is to be funny.
So I thought maybe I would write a post about Mary and Joseph and call it “Some people I know had a baby.” Only, the whole way through, I wouldn’t use their names. I might try to make you think it was Kate Middleton and Prince William. And I had this part written:
“She woke up in the cold, anxious. It was 2:00 in the morning and she had the unsettling thought, ‘Yeah, now.’ She slipped on her sandals and walked around for an hour, tried to do a bit of cleaning, but didn’t get far. She went to her snoring husband — she didn’t know why she slinked over on tip-toe — pressed a finger in his side. Nothing. Put the back of her hand on his forehead. He sort of swatted, half-dreaming. She broke down and shook him. And in a whisper she said, “I think it’s time.” He looked at her, eyes barely open: “Wake me when the action starts.”
The punchline would be, “And they called him Jesus.”
But it just didn’t work.
Then it dawned on me to try being ironic, or doing some kind of satire, but those ideas were irritating and difficult.
Maybe writing from the perspective of one of the cows would work? But then I wanted to hit myself in the head with a rolling pin for thinking that.
* * *
If it’s not edgy and it’s not funny, it should at least be interesting. Should say something that the reader hasn’t heard before.
So I could have written about all the misconceptions about the nativity.
Or about the party that was happening in heaven.
Or how cool it is when Gabriel tells Mary what’s about to happen to her, in her, through her, and she’s just like, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Or how the West celebrates Christmas in December while others celebrate in January, even though scholars think Jesus was probably born in the fall (why would a census be taken in the dead of winter?).
But none of those struck the chord.
* * *
One thing did strike a chord.
And even though it may have lost some of its edge after all your Christmases, I hope you know it’s still among the edgiest things that ever happened.
And even though it’s not a particularly funny story, not much in this world should bring a bigger smile to your face.
And even though you may know everything there is to know about it, this is a story that never gets old.
Because it’s real. It’s still true. It’s beautiful how true it is.
It goes like this:
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks 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 of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. — Luke