The Christmas story has become a time of great joy and celebration to me. The carols, the candles, the giving of presents, the occasional mistletoe, and the smell of all things festive; just seems to bring out the child in me. Even if you are not particularly religious, Christmas seemingly stirs within us a little bit more humanity, a little more consideration of others than we would normally have.
Yet the first Christmas experience was anything but festive, anything but celebratory. In fact, on closer inspection this nativity story is riddled with social stigma, rejection, and an understandable stench of disbelief due to an unplanned pregnancy.
If my daughter came home and told me at 14, that she was pregnant, and that she was a virgin, and the father was God. I would think that one of us needed medication. Because you cannot go around telling people that God is the father of your baby. It simply does not make sense.
Yet the Biblical account of the story is that once the obvious disbelief and incredulity is expressed a greater purpose for this birth is acknowledged. Mary doesn’t seem to mind having this baby in a foreign town, in a shed, without her mother present, as she is very aware that this baby has great significance to our world. It would also come as no surprise to Mary when visiting the temple with her newborn baby that an old temple prophet, Simeon and widowed Anna would both exclaim, “This is the one we’ve been waiting for.”
And if you are interested in politics all of us have had that feeling. Whether it was Mikhail Gorbachov, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Welesa, Pope John Paul II, or John F. Kennedy. All have asked, “Is this the one that will change our world for the better?”
I was at a party celebrating the inauguration of Barack Obama as the new President of the United States of America. As the fun flowed into the night the banks of TV`s surrounding the room continued to show a range of election speeches he had made around the world during his campaign. With the sound down, but the images prominent, I came to a startling realization as I stared at the listening faces of those speeches.
What was glaringly obvious to me as I looked into their eyes of anticipation was that everyone is looking for a saviour.
~ Paul King-Brown, Pastor