These kinds of questions always seem to pop into my head as Thanksgiving ends and Christmas season bursts upon the scene. But this year the answers are coming in a very real and tangible form: through the first Christmas story, as described by Luke and Matthew in the Gospels. Here are a few things I think they are telling us.
1. Slow down. We can't be changed by the Story if we don't take the time to enter into the Story and allow our hearts and minds to be gripped by its awesome force.
2. Notice. Luke and Matthew point out different things in their accounts, and each writer calls us to see the broad range of characters in the Story. What was it like for those shepherds in that cold field? What is Joseph doing that is so important? Why should we pay attention to Simeon and to Anna?
3. Sacrifice. The Story calls us to give up ourselves in worship and adoration of the Word made flesh, to pursue a different reality than the one our culture subscribes to.
The Story should be telling us all sorts of different things as we engage it this Christmas season. What is it trying to tell you?