The Family: An Icon of God’s Love Christmas offers us all a share in the joy of the shepherds who rushed to Bethlehem as soon as the heard the Angel’s news and found “Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in the manger” (Luke 2:16) Continue Reading
UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN
The journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was not without its trials. Mary and Joseph, I believe would have made their way along the easiest route – the Way of the Sea through Galilee and then the Way of Shur, a road that followed the course along the top of the hills of Samaria and Judea. The journey was about 110 kilometers and would take the better part of a week to complete. There would be many people on the road, each traveller with his or her own story. Mary and Joseph would have shared some of their story – taxation by the oppressive Roman government, a long journey late in Mary’s pregnancy, the cost and inconvenience, etc. But of the visit of the angel, the promise of God, the coming of the Messiah, did they tell of these to their fellow travellers? No one knows.
We know this story so well. We look forward to celebrating with family and friends the fulfillment of all that God promised through the prophets. The virgin will be with child and she will give birth to a son and he will be called Emmanuel. God will make a new covenant with his people, not like the former one; this one will be written in their hearts and it will last forever. The sun of righteousness will rise with healing. I sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be clean. My house will be a house of prayer for all nations. These words from the prophets are God’s word to us and to every generation. God would not see his children suffer in darkness and sin in this life and for eternity. With mercy and compassion God would provide the Lamb who would take away our sins and give the light that would dispel the darkness.
At Christmas, we are joyful in our redemption: God has come among us! The path to salvation is opened for us. Not just to Mary and Joseph but to all peoples, good news of great joy is proclaimed: unto us a child is born. God does not come in cloud and wind, with thunder and lightning as at Sinai. Fire does not fall from heaven to consume the unrighteous nor do floods wash away God’s enemies. Unto us a child is born in Bethlehem. He too has made a journey to that place. With Mary, indeed, but a much more profound journey, also. From the heights of heaven, the Eternal Word now lies in a manger in a corner of a crowded stable. This Prince of Peace, this mighty God comes to us, a baby born of Mary. He comes in the quiet of the night, a light to overcome the darkness. He will redeem us from our sins and raise us up to the heights from which he came. “Through the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us who are in darkness and live in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (see Luke 1:78-79). Blessings to you and to your families; a Merry Christmas and joy throughout the New Year.