Christmas Time again – and what a wonderful time it is, and should be. We are steeped in the story of the Madonna, Joseph and the child to be born – Jesus. We celebrate with Christmas productions featuring all the homeliness and cuteness of our children, or, in my case, grandchildren. ‘Never work with animals or children,’ may be a Hollywood maxim for every other day of the year but not this day – the little ones tend to feature.
To us, used to this story, nothing seems out of the ordinary – although, it isn’t exactly ordinary is it?
And to the inhabitants of Palestine in the 1st Century AD, it wasn’t very ordinary either. But to them it was even less so. Nothing that transpired at the birth of the Saviour was anticipated by those who were meant to know. They got one thing right – that he would be born in Bethlehem according to the prophecy. Otherwise they didn’t see it coming. Nothing about it fitted the well-worn prophetic contours of the scriptures, It was all there all right, but nobody saw it coming in the manner it did.
A child – not a King (but he was the King).
A manger – not a palace (although the universe was his palace).
A virgin – not a virgin, that’s impossible (and so it is, except where God says it isn’t)!
A young woman – not a Deborah, a Miriam, a Queen (although much more).
Nothing was as anticipated which is exactly the reason they missed it – more than missed it – they crucified the Lord of Glory. How we think God is going to do something, and how God actually does something, is two different worlds. His ways are both above our ways and better than our ways – but we continue to insist God conforms to us, and not us to him.
Christmas reminds me not only of the birth of the Saviour of mankind, but of the prayer – ‘Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be Done.’ Things don’t always go as we’d imagined but God works his will like a weaver of tapestry – messy from one view, beautiful from another.
A Very Merry and Revelatory Christmas, and a Prosperous New Year.
Simon and Valerie in London.