Monday 25 December 2017

Bible Book:

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (v. 7)

Luke 2:1-20 Monday 25 December 2017

Psalm: Psalm 110

Merry Christmas!


Today, people of many faiths and none will be enjoying a variety of celebrations. For some a purely cultural festival, others will look to the pre-Christian roots of this festival, while for Christians this passage highlights what is being celebrated, a key element in the salvation narrative, the birth of Jesus, who Christians understand to be the long-promised Messiah.

The birth story is incredibly well known and we have probably experienced it represented in many different ways, from school nativity plays through art, including nativity scenes, and of course in so many popular carols. However, that can make it harder to work with the actual text of Scripture: we know the story so well that it is easy to avoid actually reading or engaging with it. Perhaps this is especially true for those of us who have grown up within the Christendom cultural framework where the story has become romanticised.

Yet with all these celebrations there will be many others who find this a very difficult time. Many who are lonely, homeless, bereaved will be among them. Somehow the romantic telling of the story and the additions of Santa, Reindeer, Snowmen (even lobsters in the film Love Actually) etc make the story less relevant to so many people around us.

According to Luke’s Gospel God chose to send the Messiah, Jesus, to an unmarried young woman, one who was far from home, without a comfortable place to stay, in an occupied country and who (according to Matthew 2:13-15) soon became a refugee. Not only that but the first people that God then chose to tell were social and religious outcasts.

Somehow, in telling the story for so many years and in so many ways the power and relevance have got dissipated. Perhaps it is difficult for generally wealthy societies to comprehend God working with and for people who are struggling and excluded. Perhaps in becoming more secure and comfortable it also becomes harder to praise God, or to imagine doing so without that material comfort and security?

To Ponder

  • Which bits of the Christmas story connect most with you? Why?
  • Which of the romantic/cultural changes to the story take you furthest from the story and from God might want us to engage with?
  • What ways of celebrating Christmas are most helpful to you? Why? 
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