I sat in my sanctuary on the day after Christmas, a crisp and clear morning with the freshly fallen snow blowing behind the windows on either side of the altar. Brilliantly red cardinals and dusty sparrows pecked at the seed in the birdfeeders hanging from the roof of the church. The children in the congregation were gathered around the pastor who was reading a picture book telling the story of the Nativity from the perspective of a donkey. She told the age-old legend of how Mary rode the donkey to Bethlehem when she was pregnant with Jesus. "Why did they have to go to Bethlehem?" a small voice asked from the floor. "Well," my pastor explained, "they had to go because of the census that Caesar decreed, and instead of people coming to your house, like we do now, everyone had to travel back to where they were born."
Ach, young child, how I ache for the day that you might one day learn that all of this is just a story. A beautiful story created so that we might try to understand divinity from the perspective of humanity, but still just a story crafted to prove a point.
"...And later the three magi, kind of like the people in Harry Potter, came to visit Jesus with their presents of gold and frankincense and myrrh," my pastor continued later. "We celebrate this on what we call the Epiphany. This is the day that see Jesus in a new way, just like the wise men, and bring him our own gifts-"
"Like peace!" another small voice exclaimed. The congregation chuckled quietly in unison.
The pastor looked at the child and smiled. "Like peace," she agreed.
And so we sat in a state of grace within that tiny, protected, perfect glass globe, the sun shining down and the snow blowing around us, picked up and shaken gently by a child's hand with the other hand winding a tiny music box playing "Silent Night". For a blessed moment, everything is perfect and there can be no evil or hate or sadness because we are enclosed within that globe. I can believe that the heavenly host really did announce a birth to shepherds and that the world really can be saved through the birth of a single helpless baby, for even though only some stories actually happened, all of them are true.