In line with some of this week’s previous posts, another unexpected upside that came out of my catching covid a week out from Christmas, was the fact that I got to watch the global online livestreaming event of A Little Drummer Boy… actually live.
I had planned to watch it as my end of work, ‘just sit still and do nothing tonight’ viewing: about 5 hours later.
Instead I watched it in the middle of the day, Australian time – live.
There’s something about it being live that makes it more meaningful. Don’t ask me why, but it’s true. Sure, it doesn’t make sense. I was always going to be in my unit, not there, watching the concert many thousands of kilometres away.
Google tells me it’s about 15,000km from Tennessee to Sydney.
Still there’s an immediacy and proximity to it, if you’re watching live.
The first Christmas was a long way away and a long time ago. Common consensus says that Jesus was born in the year 4BC, but even with that, there’s a bit of give and take up to about 5 years either way.
Google again informs me that it’s about 14,120km from Bethlehem to Sydney.
That’s a long way away in both space and time.
However, through the writings in the pages of the gospel we can gain immediacy and proximity.
Matthew – most agree this was the Matthew that was one of Jesus’ disciples.
Mark – This man was also known as John Mark and he was very close friends with Peter, who, along with James and John, was the closest to Jesus of all the disciples.
Luke – a non-Jewish doctor who was highly educated and meticulous with his details. We know from Acts, another book in the New Testament that he wrote, that Luke travelled with the famous apostle, Paul. Paul, who was well acquainted with Peter, James and John.
John – John’s nickname is ‘The Disciple Jesus Loved’, which is possibly John’s humble way of acknowledging that he was the only disciple not to die a martyr’s death. When Jesus himself was being crucified, the following happened:
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
How’s that for immediacy and proximity? And it’s possible that John lived longer than all of the disciples and could have refuted anything that he thought was incorrect in the other accounts.
The first Christmas in Bethlehem is a long way away in both space and time for me. But I, and you, can be brought near by the written accounts from those who were with Jesus or knew those who were.
We can also be brought near if we ask God to come near to us. He was happy to do so at the first Christmas.
He’s happy to do so again.
And for the record, I did enjoy the for King and Country livestream. So much so that I wanted to applaud at the end. It felt weird though, being so far away. So instead, I gave them a golf clap, which is also odd!
But no one else was around, so it didn’t matter.
If it feels weird to pray, no one else needs to be around when you do. And if you don’t know what to say at first, give it time.
Yours in starting with a golf clap,