In this Dec. 22, 2020, file photo, a Nativity scene, right, and holiday lights are displayed in front of houses in Brooklyn's Dyker Heights neighborhood in New York. Credit: Mark Lennihan / AP

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The Christmas story as told by Luke and Matthew is for everyone. Consider it an allegory: a story intended for your close family, your extended family and even for your community. Here’s how.

Remember the nativity: The birth is welcomed by a choir of angels and shepherds abiding in the field. Now consider the birth of your own children, born wherever you happened to live at that time. Then remember the congratulatory cards and emails and phone calls that came from aunts and uncles and cousins? Like angels, they were all wishing you well as parents and for what your baby would become. If they lived close enough to your home, they came to visit, just like the shepherds.

Then consider that those wise men were actually wise women and men. In your family’s case they were the grandparents of this lovely child. They came bringing gold. Gold represents money, and money is what every parent needs for the extra expenses involved in caring for a growing infant. They also brought frankincense. You can think of that as being a kind of perfume, but the kind that inspires your thoughts and actions around the spiritual development of the child as they grow through adolescence. One last gift was myrrh. Myrrh was used back then in embalming. In your story, if you take this on, it is a reminder that life comes to an end for all of us. We all, including this baby, must make the very best of life while it lasts.

So why not take the allegory one step further? Do you know of immigrants who have recently arrived in Maine? And what of the homeless in our communities? What support would their families value? What gifts do you have to bring, following the star?

Peter Garrett