Friday morning I volunteered in the school and was reading with a student. It is a fun chapter book about a supervillain who does not want to be bad. The student was impressed he was able to read a book so thick and flipped to the back — Over 300 pages! This was a source of pride. And the last page revealed there is another book coming about the good supervillain…
This puts our gospels into sharp contrast. The narrative on Jesus is short. The four gospels are 121 pages in the Bible sitting here. Of course every Bible is different. But with all the repeated stories… the narrative of Jesus is short. And the birth is even shorter! Luke and Matthew are just 32 verses, the actual birth is only two verses. Right here in Luke 2:6-7.
Of course we don’t want all the details (it was a real birth!). Meg saw the pictures of the pumpkins and asked me, are they accurate? Yes! I have said for years birth is crazy – I am amazed anyone survives. Much more amazed that all the chaos and mess lead to a tiny one cradled in our arms. And I would love to have this last detail in the narrative. But we are given two short verses (and one more when the shepherds arrive, 2:16, maybe another if the Magi arrived that night, Mt 2:11).
Take a moment to ponder the story. Fill in the details by meditating and imagining. How did Mary feel? Was Joseph pacing or holding her hand? Was anyone else there (many expect a midwife!) What do you see, smell (animals!)? This isn’t time to let your thoughts run wild. Give your mind to God in prayer and let the Spirit guide your imagination on this story.
This is how we should read all of scripture! Through meditation and imagination find a new angle. Place ourselves in the story. Looking through the Spirit’s eyes, discover the truth God has for each of us.
I hope you join us this Sunday at 10:30. We continue our theme of Christmas: Small Stars, Big Lights. Each week we will look at one of the “small” parts of the Nativity story, discovering there are no small parts. All shine brightly with the light of salvation! — This week we look at the innkeeper and midwife (neither are mentioned in scripture, so imagination will be required), but this will allow us to place ourselves in the story. And we will focus on making room.