Some much-loved Christmas songs add things to the narrative which aren’t all together helpful. ”˜Away in a Manger’ is one such culprit ”“ how do we know Jesus didn’t cry? And don’t get me started on ”˜Little Donkey’. I mean, a little donkey, carrying Mary, following a star? Really?
I know some of you will be fuming by this point, and I’m being deliberately provocative, but take a moment to think it through. The Bible Christmas story has no donkey, no innkeeper, no kings apart from Herod. What it does have is God’s promised saviour come to live with his people. It’s a life-changing story, one that promises eternal life.
What I’m getting at, in my roundabout, ranty way, is this: we have reduced the greatest story we can tell ”“ the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Christ ”“ to a series of clichÃ©s and non-Bible sentiments. The world is crying out to hear this story of salvation, so let’s tell it with all the shock, surprise, joy, drama, grief, happiness and life of the biblical account. This awesome, powerful story doesn’t need a donkey or a badly acted innkeeper. It needs people willing to share the good news and the difference it has made to them.