The season of Christmas is a time to recollect, to look back and forward. For many people it reaches it climax on the 25th of December where all the rushing and planning, baking and celebrating happens with family and friends. In the shopping centres the day following Christmas is a time to purge the shop of excess goods and decorations that are no longer required. By the time we get to the 27th or 28th of December it is as if Christmas is in the distant past and we look forward to New Year’s Day Celebrations, Australia Day and then the planning starts for Easter!
However, in the Liturgical cycle of the Church Christmas continues. We savour for a few more weeks what the meaning of this tiny child could mean. God, who humbled himself to be born as someone so helpless. A baby conceived in a country town to a young woman who was unmarried. Today, would the baby even make it to birth? A baby born not in the home town of the mother but a long distance away. A baby born not in a warm home but in a place where animals were kept safe. A baby welcomed first by shepherds. A baby announced by angels. A baby welcomed by wise men from foreign nations. We can ponder what this all could mean, even as Mary did.
We can be challenged to be like Mary, like the shepherds, like the wise men and like the angels, celebrating the wonder, the miracle of Jesus birth. Or, we can just let the moment pass or become too busy in our own lives to find room for him, like the Inn Keeper. Perhaps we will reject him altogether and plan to erase him from our lives, like Herod.
Jesus, the one who saves, Emmanual, God with us, born in Bethlehem, the house of bread. Why do we celebrate him? Is it for that time so long ago that God walked into our history? Is it for that time alone? God has a plan so much bigger than we can imagine. A plan that encompasses all of time and space. A plan that reaches a high point at the birth of Jesus but a plan that has yet to be completed. This plan will come to completion when God will be all in all. We are called to work together with God to bring all people to like in his kingdom. We can make that day come quickly by how we interact with each person we encounter.
Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.