Friday, December 22, 2017

December 22

Luke 2:1-7
This passage is one of the most familiar to us. Each year we hear it retold: A decree went out from Emperor Augustus…

We’ve heard it so often, in fact, that probably haven’t sat down and thought about it – pictured it – in a really long time. Mary, heavily pregnant, undertaking a long and tiring journey.  Joseph, leading the way, mind likely occupied with worries about Mary, about the work he left behind, about their home sitting empty, about the difficulties they might face in Bethlehem…and, indeed, those difficulties came to pass. Bethlehem was bustling, having welcomed an influx of visitors for the registration, and they had nowhere to go. Imagine the panic, the bargaining, and eventually the resignation – the manger it would be, sleeping among the animals. And then the time came for the birth: no midwife, an unclean shelter, no light, Mary herself young and inexperienced…

Not, perhaps, how anyone would imagine the savior of the world being born. But then again, the Gospels remind us, over and over, that Jesus is a different kind of king. An unexpected Messiah, despite being foretold, and he never quite behaves how the world thinks he should. It is the baby born in the stable at night to poor parents in an insignificant town who is the son of God, not the prince born to acclamation, wealth, and advantage. For while Jesus is fully human and of this world, he is also fully divine, and he comes to remind us that it is not this world that we should focus on, but instead the kingdom of heaven.

Jana Schillinger

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