When I hear the phrase "that old time religion", my thoughts turn to ALL the way back to the first century or so after Christ — as old as Christianity gets! And at that time a very allegorical approach to Scripture was popular if not the norm. Because, for them, the point of Scripture is how we can apply it to our lives. After all, Scripture is multi-layered and there are many "right" ways to approach a given passage. 

In that vein I've been thinking about how one might ponder the Christmas Story from a very allegorical point of view with personal application in mind. Namely, the Christ, the Divine being 'born' into my heart. According to the Christmas Story that's going to be met with a lot of resistance — my 'inner Herod' is going to try to chase him away if not outright kill Him, because I want to hang on to my own illusion of 'power', the illusion that I am 'king' of my own life. But the Christ/Grace is sneaky that way, and manages to be 'born' into my soul in spite of my resistance — Sneaky Grace you might say. And that initial spark is very humble and lowly — almost unnoticed in the dark night of my soul. No room in MY inn, but He's OK with a stable — He is that determined to establish even a tiny beachhead in my being. And let's see, with both a frail human parent and a Very Divine Parent, He is both human and divine. As are we, created in the "image and likeness of God' as we are. And it's shepherds — homeless people living in the wild with their animals — that are able to hear the divine/angelic announcement of His arrival and subsequently visit Him — of course it's the 'unwanted' parts of my inner being that are most ready to receive Him. As are those parts of me who are willing to follow a Star, guided and drawn by something far above my earthly concerns.

When I bring my imagination to bear like this, it is truly a new story every time I hear it! A blessed Christmas to you and yours!