I Was Thinking…
Our Christmas gift to you is a story from one of my mentors and favorite preachers, Dr. Fred Craddock. I hope you enjoy.
I recall once in Israel, being in Bethlehem and having a Jewish man explain the Christmas story to me. He explained this to me when we were standing in Shepherd’s Field. Now, some of you may know what I’m talking about. There is a field down in the lower part where there were once tents. Now I think there’s a housing development, but nothing sacred anymore. On a clear night if you stand down there and, looking toward the city, you look up, there is a bright star, and it looks like it’s standing right over the houses. And that’s what happened at Christmas. Of course, he was mixing Matthew and Luke; he was not really an expert in all this. He explained that this is how people got confused and thought there was a star over the house where Jesus was. When he finished, I said, “Well, that’s one way to look at it.”
Then he said something very interesting. He said, “I know that’s just one way to look at it. When I was in school, the rabbi explained everything in the Bible two different ways. When he would come to a miracle, he would explain it two different ways, and his reason was this: If something happens and you can’t explain it another way, then God didn’t do it.”
That’s not bad. God does not paint you into a corner and say, “Now, you weasel, you don’t have a choice,” so that the weasel will say, “I don’t have a choice, I believe.” There’s always an alternate route if one chooses not to believe. And some do, of course. (Craddock Stories, Chalice Press, P.39)
From the Walton’s—Sharon, me and our family…to all of you. May you take the Bethlehem journey a little farther down the alternate road of belief this Christmas. We love you all!