What if. . .  

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What if . . .

–Jesus had been born in this century, this decade?

What if . . .

–He had been born in our town, in Small-town, USA?

Would Mari and Joe (no doubt they would use the contemporary spelling and nickname) arrive in an out-dated, worn-out car?  Suppose it spewed and sputtered its last, just as they arrived in the center of our fair town?

Would they spend the night in the car, since our small town doesn’t have any motels or hotels?  Besides, they probably wouldn’t have any money.  Surely no one would invite them to stay the night.  After all, they would be strangers.  No, that would be dangerous; people have to be careful in this day and age.

What reason would they give for coming here?  After all, taxes are paid at the courthouse or mailed in.  There would have to be a reason relative to this time and place in history.

Would Jesus be born in the car on this wintry night?  Would the Town Marshall happen by and find the couple in distress?  Would he call the fire department for a medical run?  No doubt they would insist on sending Mari and baby to the nearest hospital to be cared for.

Who would the angels give the good news to–the kids on the street and the bridge?  How would their lives be changed if the angels told them the joyful news of the Savior’s birth?

Would the rest of us sleep on, unaware of the godly birth?  Would we miss the angelic song because of the blare of the late night TV?  Would we think the brightness of the Star was only from the streetlights?

And what of the days thereafter?  Would the churches hear of the homeless couple and offer them funds to move on?  Would we be upset if they permanently settled here?  Would we have a clue that Emmanuel, God’s Son, was within our midst—that He had been the Babe born in the car while the town folks slept, and the angels rejoiced, and the street kids discovered the Miracle of God?

As the days passed by and the astronomers pinpointed the location of the Star, and arrived to check out the facts, would we shake our heads in disbelief?  What would we think of these wise men worshipping the Child, calling Him the Messiah?  Imagine the wonder, speculations and talk, as the town folks gathered for their daily coffee breaks at the local restaurant.  Would we believe it?   How would we respond to the arrival of the media?  We’d probably be on the 6 o’clock news and even CNN.

Ah, this is just speculation—a contemporary “What if. . .” of how we might receive the birth of our Savior if He were to be born in our town this year.  Would our reaction be any different from those who lived in Bethlehem when Christ was truly born?  Would we be any more aware of His presence in our day?

Yearly, we celebrate the birth of our Savior, failing to fully comprehend that this story happened to “real people” in a “real town”–just like you and me–just like our town.  Add those ordinary facts to the extraordinary Heavenly event, and we have a glimpse of the awesome love of the Father.

Let us not become so caught up in the traditions of Christmas that we miss His presence.  May we no longer live and move as if asleep—unaware that the Giver has given the best Christmas Gift ever, His Son, Jesus Christ the Savior. 

Today, be a light in your town or community by. . .

  • helping the teachers at your local elementary school; this is a very busy time of year for all teachers
  • going to a nursing home in your community and volunteering to read to someone who would enjoy your assistance
  • baking a double recipe of your favorite casserole and sharing it with a neighbor
  • being patient by letting another move ahead of you in line
  • sending a card or note to someone telling them how much you appreciate them

 ©Janet Teitsort, request permission to reprint

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