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James Martin tells about a trip to the Holy Land. While there, he buys a nativity set for his Sunday School class. It was carved out of olive wood in the town of Bethlehem and had all the traditional figures: sheep and oxen; wise men and the shepherds; Mary, Joseph, and, of course, the baby Jesus.

As he began the return trip home, he had to go through the very strict security at Tel Aviv airport. He didn’t figure that the nativity set would attract any attention but he was wrong. Each figure was carefully scrutinized and even X-rayed. Martin asked why they were being so diligent. The security officer explained it this way: "You see, we must make sure there is nothing explosive in them."

The Christmas story is explosive. It’s part of the dynamite of the Gospel story. There is power in...

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