My Christmas tree is now up and I feel a little more in the Christmas zone. I could get a few more decorations on the tree though.
Clearly I’m running out of ideas for this advent blog already, because I’ve turned to my copy of An Australian Prayer Book to see what it’s got happening on ‘The First Sunday in Advent’ (ie today) to guide my second post.
I let out an almighty sneeze when I began to flick through the pages, so that indicates to you how often I read my copy of the prayer book.
That being said, there is metaphorical gold in that book (as well as literal dust).
I really like the sub-heading for the First Advent Sunday Service: Your redemption is near at hand.
Redemption is something I could consider more often. I don’t think I use the word other than when talking about a voucher and I certainly don’t usually think about it when discussing Christmas with people.
Redemption by a little baby just seems so weird.
And yet not so weird. In so many stories we read where there are prophecies told, there is always great excitement when a baby is born and we discover they have a promise resting over them. This is always a cause for celebration, for people to seek out that baby and also for someone to be wanting to kill that baby.
Sounds exactly like the baby Jesus to me.
The Jews knew to look in Bethlehem about 700 years beforehand. The angels filled the skies singing when he finally arrived.
Some astrologers from a foreign land came looking for someone who had caused a noticeable sign in the cosmos to appear. Jesus was ‘born under a star’ in every sense of the phrase…
… and Herod the Great wanted him dead.
There’s always got to be someone working against ‘the chosen one’. That’s just the way things are and it is no different at Christmas time.
Among all the tinsel and cards, prawns and bon-bons; all the ways we try to make our trees look amazing (still working on it) the message of Christmas is actually all about mess.
A messy world with a messy Saviour. Messy because he came to redeem people. To buy them out of the mess they are in daily.
Jesus: he’s like a CEO who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty.
So really, if I wanted to show you a picture to represent Christmas time, what I should be doing is turning about 120 degrees to the right of my Christmas tree and taking a photo of my stove top.
The stove top with the plates from last night’s dinner with my friends and this morning’s breakfast. I haven’t washed them up yet. Those plates are a mess.
Spare your judgement people: I had to get to Church early because I was on prayers (remember?) and I haven’t had lunch yet.
But that’s what Christmas is about – redemption. Redemption from the mess of our lives, which is more than just a stove top covered in plates.
Yours in the mess,