“Christmas Is Multi-Generational” The 22nd Day of Advent December 18, 2022
As I continue to age (I am 73), “multi-generational” is word that has become part of my daily vocabulary with respect to life, our ministry (Finishing Well Ministries), and my life as a grandparent.
Consider that there are 6 generations alive today.
Gen Z (2001-20) or iGen (2007-20)
Gen Y (Millennials) (1982-2000)
Gen X (1963-81)
Now think of the generations reflected in the people noted in the birth narratives of Jesus.
Mary & Joseph – probably teenagers
Their parents, and grandparents, unnamed but undoubtedly present in their lives
Zacharias and Elizabeth – priests generally retired from temple work at age 50 (Numbers 8.25) and they were beyond child-bearing years (Luke 1.7) – my guess, maybe 50ish or beyond
Jesus – a new born infant
Simeon was advanced in years and nearing death (Luke 2.26). Some have suggested that he may have been nearing 100 years of age.
Anna – at least 84 years of age – maybe more (Luke 2.37)
The magi – their age is never noted but I assume they were middle-aged
All the chief priests and scribes (Matthew 2.4) – probably all middle aged and older
Herod – probably in his early 70s
The shepherds – perhaps some older and some younger
In general, there were at least 84+ years represented between the infant child and Anna at her age of 84 (and/or perhaps 100 if Simeon was a centenarian) – more than enough years to cover the years of the 6 generations noted above.
Simeon and Jesus (Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-69)
I focus in the “multi-generational” aspects of the Christmas story so that we might celebrate the presence of all the generations this Christmas season. Celebrate parents, grandparents, and great grandparents if they are living. Celebrate children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Celebrate and value all the ages present in your family and in your church. Take time to praise those from each generation. Share your stories. Share your perspectives. Listen to the stories of those from another generation. Ask questions of those from generations different than yourself. Perhaps share stories from generations past but never gone.
If your parents are not living, find some older people in your church or neighborhood and celebrate them. When you go to church Sunday and Christmas Eve services, be multi-generational. Don’t just be with people your own age. Christmas is multi-generational.
Especially with the older generations, value them. Encourage them. Learn from them this Christmas. They are an incredible gift to us.
Happy 22nd Day of Advent.