A clear sky at night, especially at this time of year! No traffic, no noise, no one around, all is quiet! Not a murmur! The stars in the sky shining brightly! Just gazing up and then that feeling of being overcome – with wonder, amazement at such an awesome and wonderful sight!
“I wonder as I wander!” as I look up at the stars, thoughts and feelings take over about life what it all means, family friends, the world! Especially at this time of year and the reality of the divine taking on human flesh. The sheer awesomeness of that most wonderful night and that most mysterious Star shining so brightly!
The stars in the sky cannot but mesmerize you, entice you! The incredible immensity of space with lights speckled everywhere. God, The Creator of all of this sent his only son from somewhere, down to earth to become a tiny child. Doesn’t it make you wonder how and why Jesus came down to earth and why from the very beginning the goal, the whole purpose of his life was to save us by being nailed as a criminal on a tree for all to mock and jeer? That was the intention, God’s intention, to die for ordinary people, the woman and man on the street, like you and like me.
Jesus, as God could have had anything he wanted, a star in the sky, a bird in the air. All he had to do was say the word and it would have been given to him, because after all, he was/is King. He was God! But he didn’t do it like that!
Why did God do it this way? Why a stable? Why such poverty? Why so simple and so ordinary? And why do we find it so hard to fully believe that God would and did actually do it that way? Well, he tells us why! To teach us how to be ourselves, true human beings! He pressed the reset, the reboot button again. To remind us, show us, plead with us, how to behave, how to be a people, a community who care, look out, look after each other and love one another properly.
And over 2,000 years later we are still learning and we’re still getting it wrong and making so many mistakes and deciding for God who it is that deserves looking after, deserves our care, who it is that deserves our love, who it is that deserves to be saved!
Why? Because we love Power! We love force! We love Control! Being all-powerful! That’s what impresses us, enthrals us and we can’t get enough of it! Institutions be is secular or ecclesial thrive on having rules and regulations where they can control what’s being said, what’s being done and how to care for each other. But the birth of this tiny baby began something completely new, revolutionary but completely and totally rooted in Israel’s history.
We prefer adjectives and descriptions of God that reflect our human idea and obsession with power, force, control, perfection! We love the describing God as strong, controlling, male-oriented in it’s characterisations, putting things right by force and punishing those who do not do what they are supposed to. It’s why in so many ways we have turned the events of Bethlehem into a nice cosy little children’s fairy tale. Safe, sentimental, the stuff of a children’s story, which we adults only connect with when there are children around! Christmas supposedly begins in November and sometimes earlier because it makes us feel all soft and gooey inside. Advent gets lost except for the chocolate Calendar may be!
But I still “I wonder as I wander!” Who is God? What is God trying to show us? What does God keep trying to tell us? And why are we so bad at listening?
The Shepherds with their sheep were told about the birth by heavenly beings who sang ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’ declaring that something wonderful has happened and that they must go and find out what it was. 3 strange sophisticated and impressive-looking men come because they’ve been studying and been intrigued by signs and predictions and a significant Star in the night sky. They drop everything and follow a mysterious guiding light!
Something, someone was about to enter into the universe and to bring about a new world order, a new way of living and yet such an obvious way of being human! The Star took them to this Shed, to this new born baby.
You’ve heard it all before described in so many different ways! Through many different lenses! But what still grabs you? What makes you stop and “I wonder as I wander!” What brings you in touch with life’s meaning? ”The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” Jn1:
How does that affect you? The Birth of the Son of God as a human being into our World. Because in that moment darkness is conquered by the power of Light! Because Love always conquers hate! Because God comes crashing into our lives and we can’t ignore him, no matter how hard we may try! Because God has come to rescue the ‘forsaken,’ the ‘abandoned’. This is the day when darkness is blasted out of existence because the The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and True Love is revealed!
It reveals to us something new, something wonderful, something that inspires awe and yet so simple, Something that confuses our human minds and human way of thinking! Because when you see a new born baby for the first time. Something happens to you, overwhelms you. It’s otherworldly, an out of body experience that words can never fully capture. What will this life be? What will they become? And then as a parent or Guardian that terror of responsibility that you are responsible for this new creation, this new life, so vulnerable, so dependent, so fragile.
Then add to this tiny vulnerable, insignificant, poor little baby that is the Son of God. Our Gospel on Christmas Day morning, The Prologue of John stops us from succeeding to box this mystery as a children’s only story. Because this child challenges our intelligence, challenges our scientific-minded, literate based views of our world!
Because Love, Real love, blows everything into smithereens, because when someone shows they care about you, holds you in their arms when you are at your lowest ebb, your most frightened, your most vulnerable, God is breaking in and through that very moment. That’s what happened over 2,000 years ago.
So on this Blessed Christmas Morn let us celebrate in joy, celebrate in song lifting the roof up into the sky where the angels are singing Gloria! Gloria!
Jesus Christ is born today for you, for me, for the world. The light has come and that Light can never be conquered or destroyed!
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us
God bless you all! God keep you safe! May the Lord protect and shelter you all! May the Lord show you his Love this Christmastide and may you truly feel that love and never doubt it. May you always feel the presence of the Christ Child in your life no matter what the future holds and the year ahead brings. On behalf of all of us on the Parish Team have a safe and Blessed Christmas!
And as you wander may you wonder and give thanks to a God who is still teaching us how to put others first and how to care for each other and put Love at the heart of our lives.
God bless you all!