“This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.
And this was the moment when a few farm workers
and three Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight into the kingdom of heaven.”
U.A Fanthorpe “BC:AD”
That is the thing with moments, we just don’t know at the time. The birth of the Messiah, and less
than a dozen people witness the event, and God’s son is laid where the animals feed. What does it tell us?
Well, something so incredibly awesome was happening that would change the world and people forever, and yet it was strangely “missable”. Luke’s Gospel shows us who thought they were making historic moments then…decrees, census, and registers show the political power of the day. In that moment power, politics, religion, and history converged and yet most missed the event that was taking place: why?
God will not crush us into subjugation and submission to his will, by power, manipulation or even by religion…he will do so by raw naked vulnerable love. There is no campaign, no spin, no lucrative deals, just the whisper of angels and the Spirit moving.
To witness and be transformed by that same love, all we need is to listen, and act in humility and faith…the unassuming folk of the nativity all had good track records with listening. The Magi spent long periods of silence watching stars, the shepherds who could hear keenly and attentively, attuned to their flock; and Mary a girl who prayed humbly, her husband Joseph who listened to the angels..they were all humble and used to watching, waiting and listening.
Will we join the odd gathering of God’s people who become one around a trough; the wise and young, the teenage girl and the farm workers, carpenters and angels, animals and innkeepers?
We are asked again to walk the humble path to Christmas, to be attentive and to read the signs. Like the wise men we are presented with a choice – the path of Herod or the path of the angels. The path of force and greed, or the path of vulnerable love.
When we remember someone, help, listen, encourage, share with them, when we advocate for justice and give selflessly to help life giving projects, when we carve out space in our calendars and days, and within ourselves to receive him and be still and humble and prayerful before him…we have read the signs, and are being read by others as signs of that love.
May you be blessed this Christmas and have a peaceful 2024.
May Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you, gladden your hearts and scatter the darkness from before you.
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