Back in the good old days, cleaning up after Christmas was a big deal. You didn’t pack the tree in a box, you dragged it out behind the garage and swept needles for a week. Next year, you took to the woods for another tree, mindful that balsam holds its needles better than spruce.
Sunday school Christmas programs could use some cleanup too. Joseph, Mary, and the babe in a manger were very real, and that’s what counts, but the stable was probably a cave and the manger a shelf of stone. Lowing cattle? Not in the heart of town. The innkeeper is gentle fiction; the wise men—number unknown—didn’t show up for a year or more. As for the December date, early Christians borrowed the winter solstice from their pagan friends. We don’t know the actual month or day.
None of this really matters. What counts is the promise Prophet Isaiah gave us: For unto us a Child is born; unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.
Bucolic imaginings ae harmless and the wise men provide more characters for young actors. Christmas is steeped in mystery, but what is most amazing, millions of Christians around the world will kneel at a manger to celebrate Isaiah’s prophecy fulfilled.
Old Grandpa Lloyd