“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … ” so the song, which is favoured by many advertisers goes; and for some weeks now the TV ads have been full of sparkly clothing, expensive scents, and extended gatherings of families and friends to consume a perfectly presented feast without so much as a single burnt roastie, or soggy sprout, let alone a frazzled cook. Yet the world away from the adverts tells a very different story. The news is full of division and catastrophe, and the huge numbers of refugees struggling to find a place where they are welcome to make a new beginning, or at least find a place of safety until they can return home to make a fresh start. Our news does not look a lot like the ads tell us Christmas should look.
And yet the first Christmas looked a lot more like our news than the ads. The Middle East was a place of violence, repressive Roman occupation and revolt. A tyrannical despot, Herod, ruled. over the small backwater Kingdom of Judea. And it was into this reality that God took the risk of becoming human – of coming to us with all the vulnerability of a new-born baby. Not long after he was born the family was forced to flee the violence of Herod in Bethlehem and seek asylum in Eqypt.
And it is into the reality and messiness of our lives that God still comes to us, with love and peace. Whether your Christmas looks like the ads, or the chaos of the real world may you find the peace of the Christ child this Christmas.
With Every Blessing,