Tuesday, 25 December 2012

25th December - Christmas Day

From the stillness and silence of eternity comes the Word - the reason, principal and purpose which brings all things into being. The divine presence and activity at the depths of all time, space and matter, ready to be discovered, marvelled and rejoiced in, ever since humankind became capable of remembering and reasoning. This day, attention is focussed on one human being. A child, as tradition would have it, born in the night, un-noticed, far from home, far from the extended family and neighbours waiting to welcome him.

For those expecting his arrival, he'd be special because he was a first-born son, inheritor of his father's stories, possessions and standing in the community. He would also be another pair of hands to train in a skill, disciplined to work hard and provide for others. How many would have hoped in earnest that he'd have the mind of a great teacher and a heart of such unfathomable faith? 

Some might look into his face and ask, as was their pious habit, Will this one be the Messiah? It was their way of acknowledging the blessing of the birth of a son, no matter whose child he was. At this moment, however, nobody is around to congratulate his parents. They are alone with him, and astonished when shepherds arrive, their eyes alight with the wonder of an experience they've had out on the hillside, guarding animal flocks.

Who were these night watchmen? They slept under the stars, earning their keep as property guards by the owners of the flocks dwelling more comfortably in tents or houses elsewhere. They may have been homeless poor people surviving hand to mouth on the edge of society.

They are exuberant with joy and filled with unusual confidence when they find Joseph, Mary and the child in the manger. They'd abandoned their charges to come and see for themselves, and confirm that they had a real story to tell. It wasn't an idle dream, but a glimpse of something beginning in the Beyond and leading to this place. 

Mary marvels, and ponders in her heart on what has happened, realising what she and Joseph already knew in their hearts is true for everyone welcoming this good news. God has chosen to come and be with humankind, starting not with the elite of successful people, those at the peak of evolutionary progress, but with those left behind in the race for life, those with little or nothing to show for their existence, those forgotten, un-noticed. 

All are beloved children, all matter to their Maker, all have potential to become much more than they imagine of themselves. It's the fact of great fear which inhibits their growth to fulfilment. Now this great fear is overwhelmed by great joy - it is the joy of love divine all loves excelling to be made known in the life of this one born to us, given for the life of the world.

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