The conditions that awaited the first Christmas were not encouraging. When Jesus was born, there was tension in the land. Different groups, easy to tell from one another, were afraid of each other. The rich and the poor were afraid of each other. The Gentiles and the Jews were afraid of each other. Meanwhile the Romans built their empire by taking advantage of everyone they kept afraid. Something had to give.
Recently I discovered a Canadian documentary film from 1955 titled Harvest in the Valley. It chronicles the annual potato harvest in the St. John River valley in that era. Every fall whole families, from school age children to elders, travelled to each other’s farms to help gather the harvest. It was hard work done at a brisk pace. Neighbors helped each other in reciprocal fashion, but they also paid each other for their labor.
Life keeps offering opportunities to learn something I did not set out to learn, some new insight which experience bestows, welcome or not.