It’s not necessarily a good thing to have grown up immersed in Christianity. In fact, I’d liken daily exposure to Christianity to a vaccine. I’m inoculated from awe and insight.
For instance, Christmas. I know the story. Mary and Joseph have to travel to Joseph’s hometown, Bethlehem, to be counted by the government census takers. While there, Mary gives birth to Jesus, God in the flesh. There are angels and shepherds and…
Every year, for going on 34 years now, it’s the same story. I know it’s supposed to be miraculous but, honestly, it doesn’t seem that way anymore. I’m listening to the story through a thick layer of repetition that shields my mind from being penetrated and my heart from being moved. The story just doesn’t punch me in the gut like I know it would if I were hearing it for the first time, or if I were a shepherd under that star two thousand years ago.
This year, I’m attempting to hear the story in a new way. I’m reading Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth in different translations and commentaries all month. Really reading it. In new words. The repetition alone is helping reveal details I’ve never noticed before and that is making the story more meaningful to me.