Friday, December 24, 2010

My take on the Christmas story

A year ago I made the following comment during this discussion on the origins of Christmas, and I still hold to it: "That touches on something I’ve long thought about the Christmas story, but have never seen any other commentary on- that what the manger scene really demonstrates is what heartless bastards the people of Bethlehem were. Seriously. I’ve seen travelers at a bus station pool their money to buy a crying girl a bus ticket home- but in the Christmas story, we have a teenage girl hours away from giving birth, and nobody will give her as much as a spot on the floor inside where it’s warm. No room at the Inn? What decent Innkeeper's wife wouldn’t have told her husband to sleep on the floor and given Mary the bed? In fact, some women I’ve known, had they been that Innkeeper’s wife, would have told her husband and Joseph both to go sleep with the other animals, and she’d call them if and when they were needed.

To me, the lesson of “Be nice to everyone, because you don’t know their role in the universe” and “As you do to the least of them” is an important one for children to learn- and here is the perfect illustration, and no one is using it."

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Amy said...

You must be hanging out with the conservatives. :-P I've heard this commentary. Not usually focusing so much on what heartless bastards the innkeeper etc. were, but on how Jesus was a poor boy born to poor parents and hint, hint, who in our communities is sleeping out in the cold tonight? Would we make room for Mary and Joseph?

It may be mythical ( but it's still powerful. And evocative of the truth, as the beautiful morals you derive from it attest.

Merry Christmas!

Joel Monka said...

I'm a UU, remember; I only get to see conservatives on Saturdays, or after church at sports bars watching football. Yes, I've heard how poor Jesus et al were; many holiday plays or readings call them homeless. Which is absolute BS. The Bible never said they couldn't afford a room; it said there weren't any. Joseph and family were well off and well connected- look at the water-into-wine story... they were attending a massive wedding reception with hundreds of guests consuming barrels of wine. Poor people neither throw nor get invited to such shindigs.

mark said...

I struggle to keep going to the UU church as a conservative. The majority of the congregation is just as mean spirited and hypocritical as any Evangelistic bigoted church in their attitude towards conservatives. Amy is proof for the pudding. Maybe a bigger picture for the Christmas story is about Faith in something larger than yourself.