From the Minister’s desk:
The Wonder Of Christmas.
One of the challenges of Christmas, is to look on the story of the birth of Jesus with a fresh sense of wonder. I think for me one of the wonders of the story is the ordinariness of most of the people central to the story, and the events of the time that Jesus is born into.
Mary is an ordinary girl from an ordinary village and from a family that is not that different from all the other families that live in Nazareth. Mary is to be married to Joseph, now every couple is special in their own way, but their lives are following the same pattern as most people of that time. Together they seek to make a living and raise a family, and avoid falling victim to the poverty. It is into this situation that God enters through the angel Gabriel,to ask Mary to be the mother of Jesus, God’s Son, a child that
will grow up to change the world. Mary will have to face the dangers and public disgrace of that time, through being pregnant before being formally married. When the taxation survey ordered by the Roman Emperor, (it means that everyone in the Roman province of Syria, which includes Israel and Judah, has to go to their family town, and fill out their tax return), like everyone else Mary and Joseph have to travel, there are no exceptions or mitigating circumstances. This Christmas with the
political turmoil of a General Election, it creates a few more ongoing parallels with events going on at the same time as Jesus’ birth. When they get to Bethlehem, like most towns people had to travel to, there is not enough accommodation, so they end up taking shelter in a stable. When Jesus is born, he is looked after in the same as every other baby of that time.
When the Angels appear to the shepherds, it is a night like
every other night for the shepherds. That is until God enters the
scene through the angels with the message of Jesus’ birth.
Looking at many of the Christmas adverts, there is the search to
find a sense of wonder through that extra special gift. If we take
their lead we may well end up looking for the wonder of
Christmas in the special gift or event, then we could be looking
in the wrong place. Because God has set the wonder of Jesus’ birth, in the midst of the normal, or even seasonal routine of our lives. Because Christmas is the story of God, coming to be with us in all aspects of our lives.
So read again the stories of Jesus birth, and be filled again with
wonder at the birth of Jesus, of ‘God with us.’
Your friend and minister
Rev Duncan Goldie