Well, Christmas is almost upon us and Ive been turning my meditation practice towards some of the primary symbols of the Christmas story – the magi who followed the star and the shepherds who heard the call of angels.
All to often we view these symbols from what is technically called a descending Christological perspective, that is, for their significance in pointing us towards recognition that the eternal Logos of God became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth.
Instead, however, I would like to explore these stories from an ascending Christological perspective, that is, for how the point us forward to the life Jesus would live. Both magi and shepherds are significant in this respect also.
Both the magi and the shepherds are classes of people who first century Jews would have least expected to respond to God. The magi were pagan astrologers. The shepherds were poor labourers with bad reputations for shonkiness. Yet these are precisely the sorts of people who Jesus would be drawn to identify with later in life and who proved most receptive to his good news.
When I see stars and angels on Christmas trees I pause to consider this.