“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when[a]Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,[b] who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.[c]
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[d]
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” Luke 2:1-20
For humans, repetition kills. It is the everyday that bores us. The miracle of a flower, or the miracle of a door (both of which were just as fascinating to us as children) now cease to be miracles at all. They are mundane. It doesn’t take long for stories to become this way to us—true or otherwise. One has only to look at the films produced: each year the special effects become more elaborate and the explosions more devastating and extravagant.
Very quickly even scripture loses the wonder it once (or at least should have) held for us. We are especially prone to this with passages that garner much focus and attention annually—that is mainly the passages concerning the birth of Christ, and the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. We hear them over and over again. It no longer amazes us that a virgin conceived, or that a king was born in a stable, or that the same king was tortured to death and then came back to life. Perhaps it is merely that we hear these stories so often that it is not that the details don’t amaze us, as much as we no longer take the time to absorb them and be amazed by them. We read over these stories the same as a textbook on some obscure and boring subject: just slowly enough to retain the information, but not enough to really understand it or worry about engaging with it.
When one stops and considers the details of the Christmas story, one begins to regain some of that wonder. Don’t just read through it while half asleep while inhaling your morning coffee. Take time. Pause. Savor it like a well-prepared meal paired with your favorite drink. Let its tone and texture and flavor impact and change you. Come and eat.