Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:18-20
I am not in the Christmas Card design business. But if I was, I’d certainly do something with this photograph from late Monday afternoon. You can’t set up something like this; you just have to be lucky enough to have a camera handy and aware enough to grab the image when the opportunity presents.
I was walking back from delivering food next door and Max was looking out, waiting for me to come home. Rebekah was in the process of decorating and had just lit the tree. There was just enough light outside for balance.
I guess that’s the difference between journalism and paid advertising. One is staged and the other is supposed to simply observe, take note, and report what is already happening.
The Christmas Story is authentic reporting:
The Christmas narrative is anything but contrived. Jesus came into this world via the most unlikely series of events, and everything about it rings true. You don’t just pull a story like that out of thin air, especially if the goal is to make your new religion come across as plausible!
Fact is, the early Christians weren’t even trying to create a new religion, they were just doing their best to follow the directive to share the news about “What we have seen and heard.”
“We just can’t help ourselves,” the disciples said.
The point of Advent, these few weeks leading up to Christmas Day, is to make sure that we are ready to hear the story, to cut through all the razzmatazz, the staging, and the commercial exploitation, and to actually encounter the simplicity and the beauty of God coming into this world, breaking into time and space via the most vulnerable act of being born into poverty and oppression and need, displaced and dispossessed, yet received by Mary and Joseph in faithful commitment and love.
If we can achieve that, and then if we can hardly contain the truth of it; if we can’t help but share the beauty of the story – the love we are seeing and are hearing – then He will have truly come once again, and we will receive Him, and we will never be – indeed we cannot be – ever the same.
In hope, and full with the promise of light and love – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.