As part of the Christian community, we are familiar with the Christmas story. God, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth announces his stepping into human history through Angels, and fulfils this calling in the person of Jesus, born of Mary in Bethlehem.
I like the ‘angels’ bit. God blessed me by sending me heaven’s angels, as well as earthly one. The vision given and the sense of peace being enfolded in the light of an angel sent me on a journey of discovery into the heart of God. This journey brought me to Jesus, who became my Lord and Saviour, indeed the Lord and Saviour of the whole earth. The angels at Christmas always bring back those Godly memories and the joy of faith.
Yet Christmas has its dangers. Away in a manger, we can so easily leave God there as a baby. Our faith may never mature; go through the angst of teenage life and into the worries of adulthood. God remains a small child to be venerated at Christmas and forgotten the rest of the year….”Church is for children and you will grow out of it” to quote a teacher I once heard.
As Zechariah, Mary and Joseph experienced personal angels, as did I, it is the angels of the Shepherds I love more than this. This was collective, ‘for the many, not the few’, to quote a contemporary politician. These angels were singing and praising, lighting up the world, and these angels raised the Shepherds heads, and, hopefully, expectations. They responded positively and their story is still being told.
Christmas is the beginning of the journey of life. Christmas draws our gaze to God incarnate in Jesus. Christmas leads to Epiphany and light. Christmas leads to Easter where we are forced to look up, where Jesus, God saves, becomes Christ, God’s Messiah.
As we celebrate the Emmanuel, God with us, born in the night, Mary’s child, let us also look up to praise the God of wonder and all creation, the hands that flung stars into space and spoke the universe into being; for you can know this God for he has come to us as Jesus the Christ.
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