Sunday 21st December
“Not the powerful, not the privileged, not the famous in the land, But the no-ones and the needy were the first to hold God’s hand ……a homeless, wandering couple parented the Lord of all.”
A friend opened her Christmas letter to me with this quotation from a John Bell hymn – a lovely reminder, thought provoking, challenging and relevant in our current political and social climate and I appreciated her focussing my thoughts before going on to the news of her year and her family.
But I struggled to work out why I was reaching for something that wasn’t in this short quotation. It may well be in the rest of the hymn. But, for me, there’s something more fundamental about the story of the journey to comply with Roman census and the birth in the stable. It’s that Jesus was born a very human baby to very human parents with an ancestral line going back many centuries. For me this is vital to my faith and my life because, if this baby was part-God or part-Spirit, then he was not like me and other people and the rest of his life and death and resurrection has quite a different meaning for human beings.
Because Christ was born and lived as a real human being though, he really does know and what he did and what he was is really possible for other human beings and that includes me. We really can be as good, as obedient, as courageous, as humble as God’s son and we really do have the hope of life beyond death. He showed us that later on. This is the wonder of it for me.