We tend to think that Christmas is particularly meaningful for children. Certainly, children look forward to the holiday with excitement and anticipation. They enjoy the sweets and cookies, the twinkling lights, and the gifts under the tree. Its children, not adults who get to sit on Santa’s lap and say what they want for Christmas. Parents and grandparents certainly get to enjoy the glee of children as the day approaches, but the spot light doesn’t seem to be on them.
As I was preparing the Christmas eve services, I came across a reading that shifted my perspective on what is in this holiday celebration aimed at older folk. Do a little investigating, you’ll find that the stories of Jesus’ birth primarily deal with elderly adults. Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon and Anna were all evidently old. The passages make a clear, unmistakable point that these four people were getting up in their years. The Magi likely were older as well—how else do you get to be wise except by having some mileage on your odometer? Even the shepherds and Joseph seem to have left their youth behind them by the time Jesus Christ is born. Only Mary is still young and of tender age.
One thing that seems to accompany getting older is that change can be harder to accommodate. We grow used to things as they are. We like routine. We appreciate that the things we know and value will stick around. And yet, as the Savior of the world enters into human history, who is it that we find who receives the news, praises God and passes on the good news to others? It is a couple much too old to be having children, it is Simeon and Anna that have lived a full measure of days and Joseph who had his plans upset.
Funny how a familiar story keeps having something new and surprising to take in, no matter how old we get.
Grace and peace