The Bad News About Jesus ...
Jesus' birth was the best thing that could happen to you—or the worst. How can you tell?
Charles Swindoll has written a rather telling poem about what many feel on the day after Christmas:
'Twas the day after Christmas,
When all through the place
There were arguments and depression-
Even Mom had a long face.
The stockings hung empty,
And the house was a mess;
The new clothes didn't fit,
And Dad was under stress.
The family was irritable,
And the children—no one could please;
Because the instructions for the swing set
Were written in Chinese!
The bells no longer jingled,
And no carolers came around;
The sink was stacked with dishes
, And the tree was turning brown.
The stores were full of people
Returning things that fizzled and failed,
And the shoppers were discouraged
Because everything they'd bought
Was now on a half-price sale!
'Twas the day after Christmas—
The spirit of joy had disappeared;
The only hope on the horizon
Was twelve bowl games
On the first day of the New Year!
That sort of says it all, doesn't it? There is something about the day after Christmas that can be a little bit disappointing. Maybe some part of the holiday just didn't meet our expectations. Maybe we just don't want it to be over. Maybe the new year is frightening to us, especially if we spent more than we should have.
I wonder if Mary and Joseph felt that way. We don't always think a lot about what happened the days after that wondrous night in the stable. We know that they stayed in Bethlehem. We know that because the gospel writer, Luke, tells us that eight days after Jesus was born, they had him circumcised according to Jewish custom. But Luke tells us even more. He tells us about something that took place 40 days after Jesus was born. He tells us how Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in ...
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Mark Mitchell is pastor of Central Peninsula Church in Foster City, California.