Pondering the messages of the Christmas story


As 2020 draws to a close, we brace ourselves for another COVID tax season. I have reflected about the year.

Curt Swarm expressed his gratitude for a reading program in which the participants read the Bible (New Testament) in 90 days. I agree with Mr. Swarm’s appreciation of the New Testament. I, too, express my appreciation of the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

During the Christmas season my family has a tradition of reading the story of the birth of Jesus Christ from Luke 2. It is the classic story in which Caesar Augustus decreed that all of the Roman world was to be taxed. The tax was to be paid by Joseph and Mary in the city of David, Joseph’s paternal lineage location. The second chapter of Matthew repeats Joseph’s pedigree line and establishes that Joseph’s heritage showed he was as a descendant of David and of royalty. Luke’s genealogical line of Mary’s pedigree establishes that Mary and Joseph were first cousins.

The use of the name Christ is not an ordinary surname, but is a title used by the Greek interpretation of the Hebrew word for messiah or Messias. Most Christian churches establish reading programs in which they read Bible books together. That is remarkable, and Mr. Swarm testifies of the benefits he has received.

For me, I have gained a greater appreciation of the life of Christ and the remarkable life he lived through repeatedly reading about Him and His disciples. I have grown to understand them as people, have respect for their unique qualities, recognize the sacrifices they made for their beliefs, their persecutions and their martyrdom.

When I read the first few chapters of the book of Luke and Matthew, I reflect upon the sacred experiences of Mary and Joseph. Mary was visited by an angel who told her she was to be a mother. In Luke 1, is told, “ ... that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Mary responded, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

Later in verse 46-47, she responds, “My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my savior.”

In Matthew 1, Joseph was visited by an angel after he thought on the things shared with him by Mary.

“Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Mary and Joseph people pondered these messages and kept those sacred experiences to themselves. We must ponder this message, understand how blessed we are to live at this time, how blessed we are to live in freedom, and understand how blessed we are to take opportunities to help and be kind to others.

Christal L. Arthur