Broken-down Poetry: Title Track: Christmas Story


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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Title Track: Christmas Story

My dad’s favorite Christmas movie is “A Christmas Story,” the one about the dorky kid Ralphie who wants a B.B. gun, but everyone keeps telling him that he’ll shoot his eye out. My sister and I think our dad was like Ralphie when he was a boy; he had the blond hair and glasses to prove it. And I’m sure my dad asked for a gun, but never got one.

Every December I start feeling really mushy and sentimental and I watch a million cheesy Christmas movies on Fa-La-La-La Lifetime. I think I’m looking for a favorite Christmas movie, because I still haven’t found one.

Instead of watching movies, my favorite thing to do around the holidays is retelling the Christmas story – the one about Christ’s birth, not a Red Ryder B.B. gun. I try to retell it differently every year on my blog, but I don’t know how successful I am. A story that pertinent is often told best in its original text. (Maybe I should leave it to St. Luke.)

But I liked how I retold it one year, and I want to recreate that. (Read between the lines.)

Christmas is not just a time for evergreen trees, Wal-mart sales, holiday feasts, decking the halls or watching the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” It’s a time for, well. …

Around the time of Elizabeth’s amazing pregnancy and John’s birth, the emperor in Rome, Caesar Augustus, required everyone in the Roman Empire to participate in a massive census – the first census since Quirinius had become governor of Syria. Each person had to go to his or her ancestral city to be counted.

Christmas is a time to mend broken relationships – even when it’s your best friend’s roommate’s sister who stole your boyfriend away. Forgive. Even when you really don’t want to do it, forgive.

Mary’s fiancé Joseph, from Nazareth in Galilee, had to participate in the census the same way everyone else did. Because he was a descendant of King David, his ancestral city was Bethlehem, David’s birthplace. Mary, who was now late in her pregnancy which the messenger Gabriel had predicted, accompanied Joseph.

Christmas is a time to reclaim family. If you’re like me you’ve spent most of the year complaining about them (or to them). During the Christmas season, pretend you’re the Cleavers. Try to get along with your siblings, even when they drive you mad.

While in Bethlehem, she went into labor and gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped the baby in a blanket and laid Him in a feeding trough because the inn had no room for them.

Christmas is a time to forsake selfishness. Most of us receive 26 paychecks a year. Use one of them (or part of one) to buy a present for the Salvation Army Christmas Angel Tree or donate the money to a charity.

Nearby, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light – the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified!

Christmas is a time to be a kid again. Play in the snow. Wake up early on Christmas day. You have plenty of time to worry about grown-up responsibilities after Christmas.

Messenger: “Do not be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Liberating King, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.”

Christmas is a time to reprioritize. As important as school is, are you spending more time improving your grades or with the people you love?

At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousand of other messengers – a vast heavenly choir. They praise God. … “To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God! And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!” …

Christmas is a time to remember your Savior; it’s a time to relish in his Grace. It’s easy to get into the zone of the holidays, forgetting its true meaning under all of the shopping sprees and cheesy holiday specials on TV.

Don’t forget that this is a holiday that shook the world.

Everyone who heard their story couldn’t stop thinking about its meaning. Mary, too, pondered all these events, treasuring each memory in her heart.

Merry Christmas, IWU.

The blog was originally published in Indiana Wesleyan's the Sojourn newspaper.

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