Well, 2016 was an eventful year. What with Brexit, Trump and what have you. After those shocks to the geopolitical system isn’t it nice to be able to anticipate the warm, familiar glow of Christmas? It comes but once a year, bringing with it fond memories of Christmases past. Family gatherings, turkey and trimmings, pressies, the Queen on telly and so on. A chance to stop the world and get off for the festive season.
The first Christmas was rather more disruptive. Wise men from the East arrived at Herod’s palace seeking the new born King of the Jews. Herod’s reaction wasn’t, ‘Aw, baby Jesus, how sweet.’ The power grabbing ruler could brook no rivals. He wanted the infant King killed. Shocking isn’t it?
The message of Christmas is disruptive. It disrupts what we may think about God. We might expect him to make a universe to display his glory. But do we imagine for one minute that almighty God would enter the world as one of us, a flesh and blood human being? That’s exactly what happened when Jesus was born. He is the Son of God born as man. His name is ‘Immanuel’, meaning ‘God with us’ as one of us.
Why did Jesus come? The Bible explains it was ‘to save his people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:21). That too is a disruptive thought. It suggests that all is not well between us and God and that we need to be forgiven to put things right. Well, yes. In the Gospel accounts there is a direct road from Bethlehem where Jesus was born to Calvary where he died for the sins of the world.
The wise men got it. They believed in Jesus, sought him out and worshipped him. They were prepared to embrace the disruptive power of God’s grace in Jesus. How about you?
Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the low down on Providence & Ebenezer Christmas services.
* For December News & Views, West Lavington parish mag