To prepare for this festival for dreamers, I'm imagining those travelers who dared the darkness for the light of a star, and thinking of those other dreamers who have looked into the darkness, glimpsed the light and followed a star.
While Christians put decorations away, vacuum up the tinsel, and find places to put our new toys, I often wonder what it all means. After the pregnant longing, after the birth, how do we understand that God is with us?
I can't imagine a better way of celebrating the original Christmas event, or a better way of kicking off a new year, than by allowing our genuine and well-warranted joy to be interrupted by the suffering of our world, even for a moment.
How overwhelming the first Christmas must have been for Mary and Joseph. Few things can provoke such intense worry as a newborn child. But few things promise such unreasonable hope, such unexpected change and such unbounded joy.
While theories vary on who the "historical" Jesus really was, there's general agreement that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem. So why was it so important for the gospel writers to claim Bethlehem as Jesus' birthplace?
The Christmas story has what all great stories must have: the characters become changed, the shepherds leave their flock, the wise men follow a star, a young father trusts a dream and a girl becomes the mother of God.