When re-reading the Christmas story it is easy to come with preconceived images. “Packaged” concepts of what the story is about. Over the last few weeks I have tried to re-read these stories with a fresh set of eyes.
The two over-riding words that struck me were: 1. Humanity and 2. Divinity.
In these Gospel stories we are confronted with the raw humanity of Mary; a young, frightened girl who has to deal with the consequences of God’s decision. There would the rumours, the gossip and the caring for a baby to deal with. There is the quiet dignified humanity of Joseph, who having behaved properly towards his betrothed, is flung into a situation beyond his will and his making. Joseph takes this all in and behaves true to his gentle, caring, character.
There are the rough shepherds, vulnerable and open. They are the least of men but are some of the first to see God incarnate. You can imagine these rough men, embarrassed, awed and awkward, but overjoyed, wondering what to say or do next when they meet the young mother with her new baby. They don’t meet too many people – especially young mums and babies.
The wise men are different again. They followed their learning and instincts, but most of all the leading of the Holy Spirit. These were men whose hearts were open to God even though they came from outside the Jewish culture. These men were a portent of the millions to come to Christ over the next 2000 plus year from many different places and cultures.
God in the midst of humanity, God coming to us and dwelling among us, God as one of us. How amazing!
Next time: The Divinity.