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Date:9/20/2014 5:02:25 AM
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Christmas, Pt III
A final entry about Christmas. For me, I reduce everything to the most basic elements. The famous Charles Schultz classic, "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!" addressed the Christmas blues long before the psychologists did. At the end of the program, Linus shows Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas when he goes onto the stage and recites from St. Luke:
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

As a countryman, I like to reflect on the simple stable, probably just a small cave, where the Holy Family stayed. I like thinking of the confines made cozy by the warmth coming from the livestock; the donkey, a few sheep, perhaps a cow. I can almost smell the straw and hay used for bedding by human and animal alike and see the dim lighting provided by a shielded candle or oil lamp. I find comfort in noting that the first to see Jesus after His parents were farm animals and that the first people to visit him Him were shepherds . . . countrymen. I can imagine that as countrymen, they were eager to share what provisions they could with the Holy Family and if their families were anywhere in the area, I would bet that their wives, like the countrywomen I know today, would've helped Mary with her needs and made sure she had food and rest. I am a practical and experienced enough country person, as I'm sure you all are as well, to imagine that these folks made sure that that little cave was the cleanest stable Bethlehem ever saw, considering Who was staying there. All this is my own personal speculation of course, but it is significant for me that Jesus was born among farm animals and protected and attended by countryfolks. There's no way I can get the Christmas blues when I think on that. Merry Christmas! -- Gary
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