Unwrapping Christmas: the context of pain is conceived joy. Luke 1, Matthew 1&2

In this special series for Christmas, taking a break from our current study on the Remnant we shall return to that toward the New Year.

Christmas is sometimes only remembered in a traditional “fluffy” kind of way. Yet the backdrop to the Christmas story does not last just 12 days but 2 years!

The story is in context with a nation under occupation from a Roman Empire. The injustices of this subjugation are felt across the land. Jerusalem is a melting pot of stamping out many potential revolutions and zealots plot the taking of the Temple. Many lives were lost and many families resented the presence of armies and foreign rulers in their Jewish palaces.

There were taxes, heavy on a agricultural economy. Yet in all of that the Temple and its priesthood stood subservient to this occupying force.

Then in an unexplained way a priest stood by a incense altar, routinely. Yet it was interrupted by the visitation of Gabriel. Announcing the birth of the greatest prophet, John who was to prepare the way for the Messiah.

Then a young maiden in an obscure town of Nazareth was visited with the news she would carry the Messiah, with all the moral risks of being pregnant outside of formal conclusions of betrothal.

Against all this backdrop of pain, of occupation, injustice, God came to birth 2 babies into the nation to change spiritual destinies.

Today I sense we live in similar situations across the world. Even in Israel is spoken of occupation, injustice. In the USA the new administration is spoken against, and in the UK is Brexit turning into a divisive melting pot.

But in the obscurity and in the lowly places and houses God is doing something new. In the midst of pain God births seeds of change. These aspects are missed each Christmas as we read through traditional and routine means the beautiful story.

Even in the routines of Church services this season may God’s Angel’s come and bring us news of change so that we look away from searching only in political systems the solving of our global problems.

May we see that the changes God sowed in the form of 2 babies can happen again in some other form so that we too may “receive Jesus again.”

So in unwrapping Christmas from the Gospel we can see new aspects that will bring a new “star” to guide us to His birthing place. He desires to be “birthed” in our generation.

Shalom!

Tomorrow we shall unwrap Christmas again.

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