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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Tagged 2000 years, child, come, Jesus, joseph, lshepherds, mary, save the world, wise men, wonder, worship
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
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
Thursday 28 January
Matthew 26: 17-35 was the reading at morning prayer the other day. We heard the account from the last supper when Jesus pointed out the one to betray him was the one who dipped the bread in the bowl. Then Judas name is mentioned and we all tend to nod and recognise the “bad ‘un”.
And then one of those moments of awareness.
The account goes on to tell of Jesus predicting the abandonment by all the disciples. Did not they all dip bread with him, weren’t all of them betrayers of trust?
We all look for the Judas without recognising our hand in the dish.
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Tagged awareness, bertray, bread, dip, disciples, Jesus, judas, last supper, matthew
Wednesday 27 January
Knowledge of Jesus, if only a the slightest amount, gives the possibility, the possibility of self awareness. But more, an ability then to look at others with Christ-like eyes. The reflection back can be immense.
A prayer in this confidence.
O God, the well of life, make us bright with wisdom,
that we may be lightened with the knowledge of your glory
in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Monday 25 January
Another Epiphany. Jesus returns home, gives an indication of his self awareness and of scripture’s pointing.
But they knew him, his mum and dad – his growing and his origins. They could not see beyond what was in front of them and what they knew in the moment.
My boyhood church came to a flower festival being held at the church where I was vicar. Various people echoed two comments:
“Why don’t you come home? ”
“I remember when you were this big!”
Two comments that help me understand how Jesus felt. Akin to a people and a place, but so different in himself.