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CHRISTMAS - THE ALLEGORY OF THE FIRST BEING THE LAST

 

THE FIRST, BUT THE least always form the apex of the pyramid. In food chain and social structure, they represent the least and lowliest bunch. Pyramid has been adopted as a model of teaching that shows transition from least significant to significant; from dumb to smart; helpless to powerful; fools to orators; cattle to wise men from the orient! Jesus was definitely in support of the model of teaching with pyramid as evident in his chosen way to announce his arrival to the world. The Christmas story, today, strikes me like the allegory of the "first being the last, and the last being the first". The story of nativity further demonstrates the mission of Christ, and the kind of kingdom he plans to set up; a kingdom that puts the cattle, sheep, and the shepherd above the wise men of the orient.

Before delving into this allegory, some questions continue to call for my attention. Why did he choose that time? Yes, Jesus. Was it by accident? Why did he leave the roll call of heavenly host, and was desperate to be counted among the broken - the pagans, the despaired, the weary, the trying, the sinners? Why was he willing to be subjected to the order of a pagan government in census? Why did he break his water at the very moment when no one was ready to offer a tent to  Mary, the Ark of the new covenant, being promised by the prophets? Is it to further explain that his coming, though the most prophesied, twitted and re-twitted, will be greeted with so much chill of apathy and be blinded by our penchant to fend for ourselves only under the anguished of being overburdened by the yoke of "pagan" governments of this world? I will put forward my analysis, and leave us to find answers to these questions.

In  the  allegory,  we have the  sheep,  the  shepherd,  and the  wise men from the faraway East. These are the representation of the categories of people who throng our churches in adoration of the newborn king.

The animal

The creator of heaven and earth, before revealing himself to man first played host to dumb, irrational animals. These are his creations who neither need a prophecy nor the "Star" to prepare or guide them to their creator. They are humble beast, which no one cares about what they say. Christ revealing himself to them prefigures that redemption is for all creation - man and even animals. In their kingdoms, all the humble beasts of burden found greater humility in Christ, who, by choice, choose to reveal himself and be first welcomed by cricket's chirp, antelope's snorts, bear's growl, duck's quack, cattle's moo, and sheep's baa. Though they could not speak language rational to man, the wonder in their gaze as they look in adoration and excitement to behold the sight of their creator shows nothing but gratitude.

Rationality of humanity was brought to its knees at Jesus gesture to first reveal himself, at his first coming, first, to animals. Christ made trivial our need to be rational before  he reveals himself to us. We only need to be humble of heart.

The shepherd

Rather than appear to the Sadducees, Pharisees or the Scribes, the angels chose to first announce Christ's birth to a set of very lowly people. The shepherds were people of low means living out their lives on the field watching their flock. They are unlearned who could neither read nor write. They represent the obscured people of this world, who do not have a place in the limelight - the "Abrahams", "Jacobs", "Moses", "Davids" of this world who are ready to move to relevance once the light of God shines on them. The shepherd before the birth of Jesus were living in obscurity, but Jesus chose to reveal himself first to them, delaying his epiphany to kings and philosophers of this world. The angels announced the birth of Christ to them. They never questioned the message; they weren't going to rationalize or query how a king was not born in a palace to noble people. They weren't going to ask "where is it in the Bible?" before they forgo their daily routine in search of "a baby wrapped in cloth lying in a manger

-FELIX FAPOHUNDA

fredhunda@gmail.com

 


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