Stories inspire us, move us, and encourage us. The stories we tell at Christmas time usually encourage us to believe in something greater than ourselves, to help others, and to give without expecting anything in return. At our December Bible study, we looked at the stories we tell in December – everything from the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ to the film ‘The Polar Express’ and discovered that although Jesus is not mentioned, we can make links from these “non-Christian” stories to our story of Jesus Christ.
Stories can be a very human attempt to explain the unexplainable. How do you explain to someone that this person on the hillside in Galilee – you know, the carpenter’s son? – is actually the extra special leader we’ve been waiting for? The one who will lead us as a leader should – justly and with kindness and choosing to do the right things? The one who will lead by example?
The gospel writer Matthew wanted people to understood that Joseph (Jesus’ step-dad) knew what he was getting into. He chose to stay with Mary, to look after her and raise Jesus as ‘his own’ even though Jesus was God’s son. Matthew wanted the readers to understand that politics behind Jesus’ birth and life. Wise Men from another country travelled to find Jesus, but his own political leader King Herod feared Jesus would take his power. Just as Pharaoh tried to kill Moses, so too does King Herod would try to kill Jesus when he was a baby. Both leaders would fail. God’s plans to rescue His people would succeed.
The gospel writer Luke places marginalised people front and centre, as the women – Elizabeth and Mary – take centre stage. We see their joy at being chosen by God, to play their part in God’s rescue plan. We see God taking extra care to ensure that the shepherds (not the Temple priests or the top politicians of the day) are told exactly where Jesus has been born, so they can go and be one of the first to see Him.
For the gospel writer John, God’s glory – the light coming into a troubled chaotic time – is what matters. Just like at the beginning, way back in Genesis, in Jesus, God is dealing with the chaos. John wants us to understand that in Jesus we have seen the glory of God – God’s presence, Immanuel ‘God with us’.
Whatever stories you tell this Christmas time – whether it’s that one when the basset hound snuck up behind the Boxing Day buffet and ate all the Pigs in Blankets or whether it’s the one when ‘our kid’ was the Star in the school Nativity play – our prayer is that these stories inspire you, encourage you, and point you to that stable in Bethlehem where a baby has been born – a baby who will be called Jesus, which means Saviour. Because this baby is going to save the world – including you and me.
We would love for you and your friends and family to join us at any of our services over Christmas.
Dec 8th at 10.30am – Advent Nativity and Family Service, led by our Sunday Club
Dec 15th at 4.00pm – Christmas Carol Service
Dec 24th at 11.30pm – Christmas Eve Service – Communion will be offered. We share an open table, for all who love Jesus a lot or who are just getting to know Him and would like to know Him more.
Dec 25th at 10.00am – Christmas Day Celebration