When Jesus was born in Nazareth, nobody took notice. There were no wise men, no shepherds in the field. It wasn’t until about 30 years later that some people did take notice, his disciples, because they were drawn, and Pilate, who as crucifier-in-chief crucified all trouble-makers. When Pilate gave the order, the disciples, all 25, women and men, hid in the shadows for fear of their lives. The hiding, however, did not last long. As they comforted one another in both their loss and their fear, they felt the spirit of their lost one alive in their midst, and they knew that the cruelty of the Empire against the One who loved was not the final word. They knew, not that a body had been resuscitated, but that the ultimate power in the universe was not death, but life. And not just life, but life in love.

Those who walked later in the disciples’ footsteps created a mythology to help understand the unbelievable. Against all human wisdom, epitomized in the three kings, lies love, epitomized in the babe in the manger. Beyond the industry of all human enterprise, epitomized by the shepherds, come the angelic voices from beyond, announcing love and peace and not wealth as the key to happiness. And the totality of the cosmos comes together in one star, proclaiming love as the essence of all that is.

This is not a Christian celebration only, but rather a celebration for all who believe and want to believe that love and life are the essence of the universe, not death and destruction. The light shines in the darkness, and the dark has not overcome it. Indeed, it cannot.

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