Now, at this point you may be thinking, What does any of this have to do with the Nativity of Our Lord? Good question. If a space alien landed in my living room and viewed my Christmas tree, at least this part of it, what information would s/he/it glean about my belief system?
Maybe nothing. Frankly, during my Pagan Period, I was just as excited about the family Christmas tree as ever, if not more so, because for me it was a delightful in- joke...I could go from ornament to ornament and find some touchstone of pre-Christian spirituality.
Then again, maybe everything. Yesterday many of us heard this passage, from the letter to the Hebrews:
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.All things -- pomegranates and plums, arachnids, birds, insectivores, glassblowers and Christmas-tree-factory workers. And not only that, but the One in whom and through whom and for whom all things were made also chose to become part of the creation, arriving pretty much the way the rest of us do. Who knew you could get so much Incarnational theology out of fruit, a spider, a bird and a hedgehog?
Postscript: I just heard Dar Williams' "The Christians and the Pagans" on the radio...having lived "both sides now," I thought it was a lighthearted but meaningful meditation on finding commonalities and getting along.
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small...