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The Word on the Week

Retrospection

Only a few mince pies left! But it was good while it lasted. The weather gave us a blast and now the blow-out is over. Inside the furniture has been returned to its former position and outside the branches, dislodged by the gale, have been gathered up. Normality has been restored!

The Christmas story has been enacted in a multitude of Churches with youngsters getting into the various roles extracting from them fresh meaning.

During one of these performances Mary got distracted and dropped the child. His head made an ominous noise as it bounced off the floor. Fortunately it was only a doll. However there he lay until the presentation was over, ignored, overlooked by the actors as they got on with their parts!

This year for me the shepherds were a revelation! Having a small acquaintance with sheep I always thought of the Shepherds as respectable characters with beautiful sheepdogs so it was disillusioning to learn that those on the Bethlehem hillside were a rough bunch. In truth living with sheep does contaminate one, as we can testify at lambing time! Had the birth been in the Inn they may not have gained admission! As it was the stable was entirely appropriate. Trust our God to have an eye for detail.

The shepherds did not come empty handed. What they brought was better than the sentimental suggestion often made that they brought a lamb. It was the message communicated by angel “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (St Luke chapter 2 verses 10-11). The three titles encapsulate the wonder of it all. They reveal the baby to be the Messiah (the Christ) who had come to save his people from their sins (St Matthew Chapter 1 verse 21). The title Lord means that this is the enfleshment of the Lord God (total God and total man) born to die for his own.

Do not be like the children in the play who were too busy getting on with reciting their lines to bother about Jesus. Instead emulate the shepherds who heard, investigated and saw for themselves that it was true. They went back to their work “glorifying and praising God for all that they had seen, as it had been told them.” (St Luke chapter 2 verse 20)