Wisdom of Kings (and Shepherds)12/24/2013
This is a Christmas rerun post from my former blog, West of Mayberry. It was originally posted December 25th, 2009 with the title “St. Luke’s Shepherds vs. St. Matthew’s Kings”
Despite what you think from the title of this post, this isn’t about high-school football play-offs.
So, don’t worry.
It’s about the Bible.
So, now worry.
It’s a bit after midnight here, west of Mayberry. Officially Christmas Day.
I just said goodnight to Granny and turned off the lights in her room. After getting her settled in, I sat next to her on top of the covers. We propped ourselves against the headboard and watched TV for a while.
She got tired but wanted to hear the story of the nativity before she fell asleep. As you all know, I’m not the most religious person in the world, but I’d have to be a downright heathen to refuse to do that. So, I grabbed Granny’s Bible off the night table and read from the second chapter of the Luke.
No room at the inn. Shepherds and their flocks and all. But no Wise Men. No kings.
At first I thought maybe I was reading from one of those contemporary editions or something. But when I looked at spine, it said “King James.” I asked Granny about it and she told me, “That’s Matthew.”
Then she told me she prefers Luke, which is why I guess that’s what she asked me to read. I asked her why she preferred Luke since it was essentially the same story.
“Luke is more for regular folk. Matthew is too…too…”
She searched for the right word, then finally finished her thought with, “too Republican.”
We both chuckled about that and I made a mental note to tell the Attorney, who has been known to have Republican tendencies.
Apparently there are differences in the facts of the Christmas story, depending on who told it. Luke talks about the manger and shepherds. Matthew talks about the kings. The shepherds heard from an angel. The Wise Men followed a star.
Isn’t it kinda ironic that the Gospels are not necessarily the gospel?
So, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that even now, 2000 or so years later, that Christmas is a different thing to different people. But whether your Christmas includes shepherds…or not. Kings…or not…Jesus, Santa, Angels, Rudolph, presents, trees, or stars…or not, we’re all celebrating the same thing.
The easy answer is “the birth of Christ.” But the bigger answer is “goodness.”
You may not believe a baby was born in a manger to a virgin. Or, if you do, you may not believe that babe is the Messiah. But, if you celebrate Christmas at all, surely you can believe in the goodness that the story represents.
And, if you don’t celebrate, surely you can believe in goodness nonetheless.
It’s all mankind truly has to give.
Goodness: It’s no better, nor worse, from shepherds than from kings.