FAITH: Even Ordinary Instances Can Relate to Christmas

Rev. Bill H. Lassiter – contributed by the family of the late Rev. Lassiter

Christmas came early this year. Our South Pittsburg Pirates gave us a state football championship. They worked hard. Their coaches worked hard. And the Marion County community shared in support.

I know somebody is already questioning why a Christmas column would begin with such a secular comment as the first paragraph. Well, it’s like this; there were a lot of ordinary things going on during the time of the birth of Christ. Shepherds, for instance, were doing what they had always done. They were watching their sheep on a cold hillside. And while they were acting responsibly and performing an ordinary everyday task, God revealed to them the birth of His Son.

The Wise Men were students of the heavens. They consistently watched the skies for any changes that might take place there. They were doing their regular tasks when they discovered a star they had not seen before. Their curiosity aroused, they followed its light. God had prepared a beacon to guide them to the stable where they found His Son. Mary and Joseph had gone to Bethlehem for political reasons. Even then, the population had to be registered for tax purposes. It was both a census count and a registration. An ordinary purpose which overcrowded the city. There were a lot of folks that night who took shelter in less than adequate facilities. In the midst of these ordinary circumstances, God revealed his Son.

King Herod was a part of the ordinary situation, too. Political leaders do not like competition. Then, as now, they wanted a lifetime tenure in office. Herod wanted to locate Jesus so he could have him killed. Joseph was warned and took God’s Son to Egypt. They became refugees. Herod may have been somewhat confused about who Jesus was, but he didn’t want any competition, even from a baby. “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?” The Wise Men posed the question. But it is our question as well. He is where his people gather. He is in ordinary times and ordinary places. He is in the pulpit and in the pew. He is in the songs of the season and in those who sing or play them. He was among the crowds at the football game. He was in the hearts of some of the players. He was present in the lives of the coaches. Jesus is still present in the ordinary. It is good to view our ordinary circumstances with spiritual or theological eyes. We see Jesus in those who try to release captives. We see him in the refugee camps. We see him in the struggle to overcome oppression and poverty. We may even see him in ourselves.

“I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you gave me clothing; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me. Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:35, 36, 40) Ordinary things, but Jesus is present. Keep Christ in Christmas? We can’t keep him out! May the Christ of Christmas fill your hearts with joy!