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.
Posted in Advent, Christmas, Christmas Thoughts, Observation, Reflection, Stories, Thought for the day
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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
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Christmas, Insights, Observation, Stories
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Wednesday 21 December
How stories fire the imagination. Old classics be they fairy tales or myths from legend. Expressions of humanity that underline significant desires to recognise the good, the potential and positives of life and our desire for them to be ‘right’.
A fine story sets the scene, sets down markers for us to equate ourselves alongside. Place, people and character information give us a sense of the narrative and make the whole tale personal to us.
When you look at Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth all these elements are laid out for us. The incarnation needs a place, a cast of characters and some background.
We all know the traditional birth narrative. It is close to our hearts in its simplicity, but its familiarity may hide the stark and most important facts.
Looking with new eyes – within eternity God chose to place Jesus in a small town in Israel at a particular point in that country’s history. He was born to a specific mother in an unconventional family for the time. This birth was not heralded in a royal court, but in some dark, similarly insignificant countryside.
If there, if then, if……then why not to me, here in my unworthy circumstance.
That is the amazing point of the incarnation, it speaks of new possibilities.
As I read or hear the Christmas story anew, may I see, my I know the desire of God to be a part of my existence and the lives of those among whom I move. God of entity you are ultimately the God of an infinite number of moments in time when you break into the human state. In Jesus, in me and in my neighbour. Grant me grace to live as part of your story. Amen
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Bible text, Christmas, Observation, Reflection
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Tuesday 20 December
Looking at a totally new way? Well, we could start by forgetting everything we know about Jesus, his birth, growing, ministry, death and resurrection. You see we come to Christmas with the account from last year embedded in us; our knowledge, understanding and experience.
A new way? That God becomes a raw slip of humanity; in an insignificant state before the ‘dark ages’ had begun.
The question to ask is simply ‘Why?’
That is the question submerged beneath our knowledge, understanding and experience. Look in a mirror, closely at yourself and then reflect.
Jesus born so long ago into insignificance gives you an eternal link to God. Not a distant ethereal link but by flesh and blood, physical, emotional and spiritual link.
Lord, when I think you are distant, remind me that I can see your humanity revealed in Jesus by looking in a mirror. In barest humanity the baby at Bethlehem brought you into our bodily sphere – close and a human person like me.
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Christmas, Observation, Reflection, Thought for the day
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In the final week before Christmas I reflect back to the recent confirmation service where the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, asked the gathered congregation to look afresh at repentance. In fact he told us to see the turning round of repentance was simply look at every situation, and God’s kingdom in a new way.
Christianity has at its foundation a reassessment of the worldly to the extent that we run contrary to the world. Bishop Nick mentioned John the Baptist’s call and Israel’s expectation. Repentance: new eyes revealed not in a conquering king but a helpless baby. Not a winnowing fire, but a breath of a child.
So what will I see with new eyes today?
Father in this season where we await a birth of something familiar but then something completely radical, help me see with radical eyes: not just those in need, but those who can be aided by me; not just the lonely, but my companion; not just the sick but the beloved by you. And all in Jesus name. Amen.
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