Today was one of those days that reminds you why Australians often have cold food at Christmas time. In between Church and another round of door-knocking I did some Christmas presents cooking.
It’s way too hot for that sort of thing at this time of year, but when else can it happen?
As a child at Christmas time I’d often watch re-runs of the same Christmas specials year after year. Being a child of the 80s there was far too much Home Alone around during my primary school years. There was also Alf’s Christmas Special that got some significant airtime annually. Plus last, but certainly not least, Olivia Newton-John in the somewhat bizarre A Mom for Christmas.
It really grates on my nerves that I just had to write mum with the wrong vowel in it for an Aussie.
There was a lot of America in those Christmas movie specials and I get the vibe that a lot of people think of America when they think of Christianity. This is odd, because it’s from the Jews.
At any rate, Bucko and Champs’ Aussie Christmas Album from 1996 makes a lot more sense for an Australian (and who doesn’t like a Christmas parody song, or several?).
But speaking of Jews, something struck me this afternoon whilst door-knocking: the Jews were expecting Jesus because he was written about in their Old Testament.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
OK, so that line from the Bible is a bit of a cryptic crossword verse.
However, if you know that Jesse was the father of David (that’s King David to you) and that The Messiah was promised to come from the line of David, then that verse becomes a fairly poetic way to say ‘we’re expecting someone’.
Whilst door knocking this afternoon, I spoke to people from a variety of different ethnic and faith backgrounds: people from all over the globe. I even got to practise some of my terrible Mandarin speaking skills with a few people (who then corrected my pronunciation after looking at me strangely).
But it struck me – why bother talking to the Greek who’s an Orthodox Christian? Why start a chat with a Buddhist Chinese about Christmas? Why ask a white Australian what they think about Jesus?
None of them, or myself are Jewish (or American).
But we don’t need to be:
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
Jesus was expected by the Jews but he came for everyone. The Magi from another land coming to find him make this clear.
Christmas is for everyone all over the globe. It really doesn’t matter whether you eat a roast or a pile of prawns: everyone’s welcome to share in a festival about Jesus.
I hope you do.
Yours in summertime,