Posts Tagged ‘Nativity’


Years ago I had the blessing of being asked to preach at a Moravian church on the Christmas eve service. But what does one talk about in the ideals of love at this time of year? How does one reflect on the Christmas story? The shattering of patriarchal roles in Matthew and Luke- Joseph informed if he truly is holy he’d follow Mary’s lead, and Mary being ASKED for consent to be the Christ-bearer. Where it was first announced to the lowliest, for the Love of God (truly, the underlying story of the Hebrew Bible) is open. Yet, what also struck me, is a thread of social gospel.

Today’s centering hymn, listen here.

For it was a story, the census, of groups of oppressed, conquered people under empire (colonialism), where there was active and passive genocide. The count was for taxes, but I would also reckon it was to ensure the Non-Romans were being kept culled and in check. It was the creation of a peoples of episodic homelessness. Those that for times each year would need to travel, and be without stable housing.

See the source image

This was Mary and Joseph.

This was there story entering into Bethlehem, a place they were not wanted, a place where there literally was no room at the Inn. A place, where I can imagine the journey to, and the journey through, they heard many racial and hate filled things and stereotypes. What gremlins would be emerging in Joseph’s mind during this journey with his newly pregnant betrothed? Would this be the first time Mary had seen the evil of the world? or was she, perhaps, at nine months pregnant, feeling safer than she had ever felt in her life from the leering Roman soldiers? The religious oppressors leers?

See the source image

When one finally sees the night, I wonder how much the Inn Keeper’s wife prodded to ensure safety as darkness descended? What was unknown to these weary travelers? Yet, here was love of neighbour even in its awkwardness of offering up the stable. Sometimes, when the storm is raging it is the only option-the challenge for us is to not let the port when the storm is raging (i.e. homeless shelters, fractured government entitlements, foodbanks) become the institutional solution of love when there is better options to show care for our fellow citizens and ourselves (i.e. affordable housing, universal basic income, community gardens, full public education, universal pharmacare, expanding universal health care to include optical, dental, mental health; public day care (with monies for families that have a caregiver at home); oh and as Covid has proven, public and properly funded long term care for our elders).

This is another root of the nativity story, small glimmers, love open for everyone that society said had to qualify for existence, God’s star shone. The light shattered through the darkness showing the simplest of paths, to what should be the safest of spaces:

H-O-M-E.

For home, is not the place we exist, rather it is the place where our true selves, how we were created to be, is birthed into this world.

Benediction hymn here.

What is your home?

What is being born within you for 2021?


I was wracking my mind and heart about what to share on this day of new life. Then I do what many do on Christmas day, a family tradition. We would gather throughout my life to watch the Queen address the Commonwealth. So the wife and I once again did today, and her message, the 60th on television, she was the first monarch to use the medium (and has been the only one since)…celebrating her platinum wedding anniversary to Prince Phillip. Speaking of the light in the darkness, the love of neighbour and self through first responders, charity, church and reclaiming/claiming home.

“The simplicity of the call of home this time of year”

-Queen Elizabeth II, head of the Commonwealth, Religious head of the Church of England (Anglican Communion)

From our family to yours this season, please join our tradition, read the article and listen to the Queen’s Christmas Message 2017.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A BLESSED NEW YEAR.

 


38 years old is the book. Amazing isn’t it in this throw away society that something has endured and lasted through childhood, multiple uses in ministry from churches to streets to outreaches…to quiet nights on Christmas Eve with my own children. A pop up book back when Hallmark published such things, given to me by my Nan and Granddad to commemorate my first Christmas a scants 4ish months since birth, and 2ish months since the Christening into the Anglican tradition, within the Roman Catholic School gym (shamrock backboard and all).

Yet it is the story that endures and matters. Many argue the historicity of it. Did it actually happen? Was their a Virgin birth? Did it happen on Christmas Day? What about the Pagan Solstice?

Yet in simply sitting with my family this Christmas eve, no spiritual home to say, and reading the story of the family travelling at the darkest time of year seeking shelter. Dark times? The Solstice tells us this is the darkest time of year. The extra burden wrought by taxes that do not take not even affordability, but survival into account (no comment to Carbon Tax I promise)…that was the oppression of the Roman Empire where Joseph and Mary, and their people were viewed as a number, as commodities (ringing any familiarity yet?) to be used and abused.

Mary steps out of the commodification of her gender within her oppression by Rome and Religious Israel, to claim her yes in power to the Holy Mystery to bear his child. Where did this child come from? Some say a Virgin birth, some say another oppression by a Roman soldier using his property, much like David used Bathsheba, what we today call Rape, or a genocidal practice…yet Mary was the one asked whether or not she would keep it, would choose life in herself and for her baby and was blessed.

Yet that was not the end of the story, for Joseph also had to choose life. He had to choose to keep his betrothed (purchased) property and the child that was not his. He had 3 options, become the town joke by choosing and create their own outcast ways, cast Mary outside the city gates like other sex trafficked women to her death with child, or have her stoned to death.

Mary’s yes resounded to a mystical moment for Joseph to choose his own yes.

Yet this is not the end of the mysticism of the story as societal constructs of oppression are thrown off. For we are in the midst of the 12 days of Christmas. Yes it is more than a song, and I am sure the Google can reveal the Christian imagery revealed in the lyrics, but it is the 12 days that high liturgical churches embrace as a way of bringing the two nativities together.

For Luke gives us the call out to the other cast outs and oppressed imaged by the shepherds to come to the birth. Yet in Matthew, the universal Love that is the Holy Mystery, is told of the Magi who use means of magic, astrology and astronomy to track this effect in the sky of a bright light in the darkness to come and show love. Ā For the gifts brought would definitely be of benefit 30 years on when Jesus would leave being a general labourer and set forth to live transformational love in the world.

Yet it is the journey of the Magi, and their decision to not let Herod know what they knew about the source, Love incarnate in the manger, this is the source for the festival time Christendom finds themselves in now. The 12 Days of Christmas between the birth and the arrival of the Magi…or between the Protestant-Catholic Christmas and the Orthodox Christmas..

The universal story of these 12 days resonates outward everywhere, for it is not about creeds or bibles or buildings…it is something more incarnate.

These 12 days it is about the spiritual journey to the centre. It is about the journey home. For it is the Magi journeying into love, and then out of love and letting that light live to transform the world.

As I read the pop up book this year to my children, these are the thoughts that came out of my heart. The journey of love has not changed for anyone in our household. The journey into and out of love and letting it shine, is a moment by moment occurrence for each of us.The symbolism of the rite and song are not lost either as we continue the journey to home.

So in these 12 days, and beyond, what is your choice of love and home mean to you?