This week’s lectionary reflection comes from my good friend Matthew Burdette, one of the most talented young theologians I know. Matt is finishing his thesis for a Masters of Theology degree from La Sierra University. He is a high school Bible teacher in Redlands, California, and occasionally blogs at Constructing Theology: The Theological Explorations of a Progressive Adventist. I asked Matt to share the lectionary reflection this week at The Suburban Pastor, it comes from the sermon he preached today at the Highstown Church, in Highstown, NJ. Thanks Matt!
Today is a day on which we remember an old story that just about all of us know, a story that all of us could probably tell from memory. It is a common story about a baby, some angels, a some shepherds, a pregnant teenage mother, her bizarre account of how she ended up pregnant, her confused fiancé, a few astrologers, a nervous king, a hotel with no vacancy, and the fate of the world. This is, as I said, a story we’re quite familiar with.
One of my favorite things to do as a child was listen to stories. I had several favorites. Two that I remember in particular were called Milk and Cookies and Are You My Mother? I am certain that the only other persons besides myself who remember this are my mother and maybe my teddy bear. Now don’t be deceived by the title of Milk and Cookies. This isn’t so much a story about food as it is about a baby bear visiting his grandparents’ house, terrified of a furnace in the basement that he is convinced is a dragon. Scary stuff. Likewise, Are You My Mother? is a very dramatic story about a newly-hatched bird who strays from the nest, and suffers all kinds of confusion as he attempts to identify his mother. Again, scary stuff.
As a child, I wanted to read these books all the time. Now, have you ever stopped to wonder why it is that children do this? I remember my little sister Lizzie had a favorite book when she was a kid, and my mom would read it to her all the time too. And I know of other kids that do the same thing, so it isn’t just my family. Why is it that children can watch the same movie over and over again, or read the same book every night? It isn’t bad memory. Kids know what’s coming next. They wait anxiously for their favorite parts. They mumble along with the movies, having memorized all the lines. They correct you when you misread the sentence in the book. It isn’t bad memory. It is something else. Continue reading 'A Christmas Sermon'»