24. 2000 years later, we come with the shepherds, with the wise men, with Mary and Joseph; to worship Jesus and to wonder at the child who would save the world.
The focus of Advent is the coming of Jesus at Christmas and His return. As we have retold the Christmas story through the Huddersfield Parish Church Advent calendar we have encountered what it means that “God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit” is with us. We have heard and responded with small significant moments of worship, moved our focus from ourselves, beyond to focus on God and neighbour. This is the Jesus effect! From the Godly realm to a human state and earthly relationships. As Jesus said after the parable of the Good Samaritan – “Go, do likewise!
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23. The wise men gave myrrh, to show that Jesus would die.
The incarnation of Jesus is not just for Christmas. The wise men sensed there was something powerful in the birth of this child. Myrrh, a bye-product of incense resin, had been used in ancient burial rites for eons. So, these visitors might as well have given a coffin! A portent, a guess, a mistake, why would they make such an offering. I suppose any incarnation, fully valid, would have worked out in death or full humanity for Jesus would have been no more than a cheap trick or God playing at the human state. Did the wise men imagine the cross or were they just acknowledging the human frailty that must end?
Pray for those whose lives are ending at this time, those who you have loved and lost. Remember too through the gift of myrrh Jesus too followed that path – horribly in the cross.
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Tagged coffin, Cross, death, frailty, gift, huddersfield parish church, humanity, Jesus, myrrh, potent, wisemen
22. The wise men gave frankincense, to show that Jesus was God.
Other than the odd incense stick – frankincense is somewhat out of fashion. Yes, it still resides in some churches and eastern religions, but on the whole Frankincense only brings people into a state of coughing when liberally used. But in ancient time fragrant incense was seen as a pleasing offering and a symbol of prayers rising.
As you think today about this gift from the wise men ask yourself what would be a pleasing offering to God, this day. Make your prayer rise today as smoke from incense rises and fills a room. Show your understanding of Jesus as God.
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Tagged gift, holy smoke, incense, Jesus, prayer, wise men, worship
21. The wise men gave Gold, to show that Jesus was a king
When recalling someone and the description ‘heart of gold’ is used, you are meant to imagine kindness in a most precious way. Strangely it suggests kindness so un-bling -like as you can imagine. It is more about the purity of gold which can be found even in its rawest state, nugget like in the dross of clay or silt. This is gold that is worthy of offering.
What offering of gold do you offer today?
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Tagged gift, gold, heart of gold, huddersfield parish church, Jesus, response, wisemen, you
Saturday 24 December
The baby was wrapped in bands of cloth an placed in a manger.
This is, of course, the same person whose body would be wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in the tomb.
As a baby and as the adult servant King helpless and dependent on others. Giving up himself to the wills of humanity. God still comes to us, emptying himself so that we might meet him.
Can we ever be as vulnerable as him?
Can we open ourselves to the will and love and life of God as he meets us this Christmas?
Almighty God, who has power beyond all that we can comprehend, you meet us in the form of a tiny baby and broken body. By your Holy Spirit, enable us to put aside all pride and so to be ready to welcome you as Mary did with open arms. Amen.
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Tagged advent, baby, christmas, God, god's will, helpless, holy spirit, hpc, huddersfield parish church, Jesus, king, manger, mary, Peter’s, servant, servant king, St, tomb, vunerable, wrapped
Friday 22 December
The baby Jesus was placed in a manger. Not the picturesque mangers we see in nativity plays, but an animals’ feeding trough.
Meals were an important part of Jesus’ life, he shared meals with those people that we would probably not want invite into our homes if we knew them today.
And then Jesus became a meal. Body and blood given for you. Given to all those who come to him.
None of us deserve it and none can earn it. We can only take what Christ offers and remember that as we eat his holy meal we are elevated into his kingship and brought down into the manger of that first Christmas.
This Christmas as we encounter Christ coming, let us say, “For what we about to receive make us truly thankful. Amen.”
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Thursday 21 December
The letter to Titus says, “The goodness and loving-kindness of God our Saviour appeared….” We will hear about the ‘Word becoming flesh’ but let us look with new eyes that regard the significance afresh. See that the ‘Word’ was the ‘goodness and loving-kindness of God’
This extended description was contain in the Christ-child, grew into the man who was to prove this ‘goodness and loving-kindness’ even to the cross, and sealed in his resurrection.
How are we to react to this trait of God found in Jesus. Coo at the baby in a manger and forget his presence on Boxing Day? Perhaps we are invited to find out a little more and work and pray daily to be a part of that ‘goodness and loving-kindness.’
Make me a channel of your peace, where there is hatred let me bring your love, where there is injury, your pardon Lord and where there’s doubt, true faith in you. Make me a channel of your peace, where there’s despair in life let me bring hope, where there is darkness, only light and where there’s sadness ever joy. Oh, master grant that I may never seek, so much to be consoled as to console to be understood as to understand. Amen
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Tagged advent, baby, boxing day, channel, christ-child, christmas, coo, Cross, God, goodness, grant, hpc, huddersfield parish church, Jesus, loving kindness, Peace, Peter’s, saviour, seek, St, Titus