Christmas is coming!
What comes to mind when you think of this time of year? Is it a hope for snow on December 25th? Well across the country we got that the other day, as the photo above from our street shows.
Do you think of gifts, food, decorations? What comes to mind?
Ever had to wait in for a parcel that you were expecting with anticipation? Wondering perhaps what the item ordered will really be like? Think back to when you were a child and awaiting birthday, Sint or Christmas presents? Was there excitement? expectation?
So we come to Christmas 2017. Perhaps a problem for us all is that it is all too familiar. Christmas delivered?
Sure we ‘get it’ – Christ came to earth, the mystery of God becoming human, born in a stable for there was no proper place for Joseph and Mary to stay! Jesus – the Saviour of the world!
How easy it is to just say such things or in my case to quickly type it.
For Mary, it was a time full of twists and turns, of unknowns and what will happen next.
She was stunned that she would be pregnant and no, she was not ignorant about how babies are formed!
Joseph didn’t believe her to start with and was inclined to call off their betrothal (until divine intervention in a dream).
Who knows what Mary’s immediate family or people in the village thought?
Close to giving birth, they had to journey around 129 KM – we have no proof that Mary was on a donkey. When they arrived in Bethlehem, all accommodation was taken up and so they did not even have anywhere decent for the birth. Forget a warm maternity ward or a cosy home…
It strikes me that they probably had a mix of joy, relief and tiredness after Jesus was born. Then just as they were possibly hoping to rest, unexpected visitors arrived. No, not the Magi, they came at least months later. Shepherds (may be smelling of sheep) came in and excitedly told of angel visitation and declaration of ‘Christ the Lord’ being born. Add to that, they told of a whole angel choir bursting into praise, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14)
That must have been a lot for Joseph and Mary to take in. The gang of shepherds left soon after and told others they met about Christ. As to Mary?
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19)
Mary treasured up all that had happened, she pondered on it all.
What about us this Christmas time, will we make some time to reflect, to treasure up, to ponder? Will we respond with indifference or inquisitiveness? Will be open anew to what Christ would speak into our lives? Is the Gospel impacting every area of our lives?
May His peace(wholeness, completeness) not just be something we live in but something to share with others that we live and work among. May Christmas truly be delivered to more people!