During this Christmas season, I think of the savior of the world, the one long awaited by the Jewish nation as their messiah; the consolation of Israel. I think of how He came not to the religious leaders of the day, nor to the temple in Jerusalem; the pride of Israel, but to a poor couple, displaced from their home, struggling with the prospect of giving birth to their first in a dirty stable. The promised and long awaited savior of the world finally came to Earth in the form of the Son of God Himself, and yet, no one even knew of the event except for a few shepherds, and some wise seekers of God from a distant land, and they, only because God Himself had revealed it to them.
So it is today. Christ ever comes, not to the religiously wise in clerical collars and robes, but to the chosen few that seem to struggle outside of the walls of popular religion. If you are looking for Jesus, you won't find Him in the temples, cathedrals, or mega-churches, but cradled in the arms of those who hold in their bosoms the treasure that is Christ Jesus. Take care, however, for just as the glory of the first Noel only graces song and story in retrospect, at least for the masses, so those graced with the wonder of the hidden treasure of Christ are often overlooked in their day, just as Mary was in hers. In fact, for those without revelation, the sight of such a poor and misfortunate young girl stirred perhaps disdain or even anger from observers who wondered what character flaw in this young couple could bring such misfortune upon them as to labor in birth in the filth and stench of a stable. For the ignorant masses, this was not one blessed among women, but certainly cursed. For those with the angelic message burning within their hearts, this young girl, laboring through the pain, confusion, and inconvenience of hardship, was indeed blessed of God, and was the bearer of the very salvation for which their hungry souls pined.
On the day of which we sing and speak during this Christmas season, life went on as it did on any other day for the masses in Jerusalem and in the entire world, in fact. Only in the lowliest of settings did the glory of Heaven touch Earth and change the course of human history, and only a fortunate few even knew of the glorious event. The rest of the religious world was looking for the savior among the religion of the day. The wise found Him among the humble, the broken, the displaced; the chosen young couple that bore the weight of the struggle, and that rejoiced in the infancy of a plan that was for the most part still hidden, even from them.
Just as the ignorant or indifferent masses of the day missed Jesus the Messiah on the first Noel, even so, unfortunately, many times we modern holiday celebrants miss Jesus the Messiah on every subsequent Noel. Only to the humble, the broken, and the chosen does He reveal Himself today, and it's still hidden away in the personal struggle of those cherishing the treasure amidst the pain and difficulty of God's eternal and transcendent plan. For you, may this Christmas be unlike any other. In the midst of your personal struggle and difficulty, may you find birthed in your hearts the eternal reality of the ancient words, as if spoken for the first time: "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."