Before the more virulent strain of Covid hit London only about a week ago, there was to be a lift on the travel ban across the British Isles. From the 23rd to the 27th, anyone could go anywhere.
My younger brother, who lives in England said it was going to be disastrous, but still, he and his wife were to head to London for Christmas. Now, no one’s going anywhere and they have remained in their western county.
At first, while in London, they were planning to stay out in the backyard in a tent, for there was no room in the in-laws’ place (that’s as good as my jokes get).
Whilst this would be a crazy idea for anyone in the bleak mid-winter in London, add Covid into the mix and the fact that my younger brother is asthmatic and I can think of something else that may well have been disastrous.
However, it would have been in accordance with the first Christmas, because the first Christmas was all about pitching a tent. It’s when God pitched his tent with humanity, for good.
Rewind back into the Old Testament again and remind yourself of the guy called Moses.
You know, the guy connected to the plagues in Egypt, the 10 commandments, the Golden Calf, going up and down the mountain… and the tent.
The tent more commonly known as the tabernacle. Basically, it was a temporary temple and was a symbol of God being with and moving around the desert with Israel. The tent was the symbol of ‘God with us’ for the ancient Jews.
Fast forward to the first Christmas…
When Joseph heard that Mary was with child, he decided to break it off with her on the quiet.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save people from their sins.
All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, “God with us.”
Jesus is the new tent. Jesus is Immanuel. Jesus is God with us.
Christmas is God’s way of tenting it in to humanity and making his dwelling among us, for good.
I’m glad my brother isn’t spending his Christmas in a tent, in London, in the middle of winter.
However, I’m even gladder that God did pitch his tent, in Bethlehem, in the middle of winter, years ago.
There is much to be thankful for, because of that. Plus many reasons to say to you…