Well here we are today, celebrating an amazing thing, ‘a fantastic thing’ indeed… a gift from God to the world; a gift which we echo in our own gifts to one another.
When we think back to that night 2000 years ago though there is a strange surprise in the gift. For this is the gift that was not expected.
The baby Jesus was not part of the plan, was he? Israel wanted a king, a ruler, a saviour a liberator.. they wanted someone strong to lead them out of the terrible oppression and slavery they had felt for too many years.
Yet here was ‘the wrong gift’ the unexpected, the weak and vulnerable cry of a tiny baby… not what was expected to all.
Imagine the shepherds hurrying down the hills, they’d just been told about this remarkable saviour born in Bethlehem… hmm I wonder what they thought when they looked into that stable.. delight, or shock.
And those astrologers too? Wonder or surprise, (‘hold on .. king.. really?’)
Maybe even Mary and Joseph too? Of course there hearts were thrilled with love and delight.. they were parents! (That’s always a wonderful thing.)
But all the angelic visits, all the miraculous happenings.. yet an ordinary, human baby… just like any other baby?
A simple package…
Yet sometimes simple packages can be surprising;
For those who have seen the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them’, they will have realised already that a simple, ordinary looking package… maybe a suitcase.. can contain the most amazing things….
In Fantastic Beasts the main character Newt Scimander carries a case through New York which contains a whole new world, a world which could be entered and explored, a world which contains the most strange and wonderful creatures.. a world of awe and wonder and delight; a world beyond imagination…
What might be in this case today I wonder?
(Various creature noises)
What we see is that Jesus came in the most ordinary way possible; Gods gift looked like any other baby.. nothing special really… yet within him people began to see a whole new world; and a new way of imagining ourselves in the world, a vision which enabled them to the world through a different lens; magical, mysterious, intriguing, and wonder-ful. It is a world where there might be peace and justice, there might be love, equality, friendship, love and compassion; a world where different cultures and creeds live together in harmony and respect
Just like Newt’s magical case. Jesus invites us into a magical reality, just beyond the realms of normal sight. The gift of God all those years ago is a gift still given today. The only question facing us – will we dare to open the gift?
Have a wonderful Christmas, tell your family you love them, eat well, feast, celebrate and be enriched by love, and enrich others with love,