Finding perspective through Christmas, in unsettling times ⇔
by Michael Krigline, Dec 1984. krigline.com ⇔
I wrote this poem about “the first Christmas” two days before Christmas 1984, one year after I graduated from college. I was still unemployed as I had been for nine of the previous 12 months. It was also written just a few months before my first trip to China (though, of course, I had no idea at the time that I would one day find a rewarding career teaching English in China!).
I found it in my files the other day, and I am posting this poem now (Christmastime 2008) because many of our friends and former students around the world are being affected by the world financial crisis. Many people have lost their jobs, or are facing the fear of losing a job or income. Our daughter’s income has dropped, and my son’s tuition is rising while my income isn’t, so we also face an uncertain economic situation. Maybe this poem will help us keep things in perspective during this (and future) times of crisis.
Like much of life the first Christmas was not a very joyous occasion-- except from Heaven's perspective. To human, finite minds it was a time of pain tedious travel crude accommodations fear... even death. But to those (like Simeon and the angels) whose eyes were open to a different perspective, it was a time of wonder anticipation salvation deliverance fulfilled hopes and great joy. Yet isn't that just like God? To turn despised shepherds into Divine messengers labor pain into a source of healing a "silent night" into an insuppressible song; to bring peace from uncertainty an open invitation from a closed inn and unsearchable love from unfounded fear. From the very beginning Jesus was teaching us leading us turning our world upside down intervening at our level to give us a place at His for ever more.
- What is the difference between joy and happiness?
- Talk about some of the difficulties Mary and Joseph encountered around “the first Christmas”.
- Talk about Simeon. If possible, use words like wonder, anticipation, salvation, deliverance and joy.
- What are some of the “bad things” that God has changed into “good things” in your own life?
- The last sentence is about things Jesus does; can you give an example of each idea?
Some friends in Brazil sent the following translation in Dec 2021.
“PERSPECTIVAS DE NATAL” Como muitas coisas na vida, o primeiro Natal não foi uma ocasião muito alegre exceto na perspectiva do Céu. Para a finita mente humana, foi um tempo de dor, viagem enfadonha, acomodações rudes, medo... até morte. Mas, para aqueles (como Simeão e os anjos) cujos olhos estavam abertos para uma perspectiva diferente, foi um tempo de maravilhosa antecipação, salvação, livramento, esperanças concretizadas e grande alegria. Entretanto, não é exatamente assim que Deus faz? Torna pastores desprezados em mensageiros divinos, dor do parto em fonte de cura, uma “noite silenciosa” em canção incontida traz paz na incerteza, de uma pousada fechada, um convite aberto e do medo infundado, amor insondável. Desde o começo, Jesus já estava nos ensinando, nos conduzindo, virando nosso mundo de cabeça para baixo, intervindo em nossa condição a fim de elevar-nos à dEle para todo o sempre. Michael Krigline - Dezembro/1984 Traduzido - Dezembro/2021 Natanael e Enedina Negrão
(For more information about Christmas, see these Christmas pages [some are on EFLsuccess.com, and some at wp.krigline.com; others are on our older website]): the traditional Christmas story, who is Santa (圣诞老人)?, candy canes, Christmas Perspectives (poem), and the pre-Christmas Advent season. Also look for Christmas wallpaper on our old website. You’ll also find movie study guides at EFLsuccess.com (or our old site) for some great holiday films: A Snoopy/Charlie Brown Christmas, Last Holiday, White Christmas, The Grinch, Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life.
For more information about Christianity, check out https://peacewithgod.net/
Original content ©Michael Krigline, including photos if noted. For contact info, visit About Us. For privacy info or to make a contribution, see our Website Standards and Use Policy page (under “About Us”). [Titles that start with ↑ point to devotional articles that help us “look up”.]