Saturday, 17 December 2016

Advent 30 Day Retreat: Week 3 Day 20

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

“Nativity” (1875), Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)

We have here an amazing and daring picture for the beginning of Jesus’ life amongst us. God does not come amongst the wealthy, educated or powerful but rather amongst the marginalised of society.

An unspiritual mind writing a story of God incarnate would surely have Jesus born in a palace, among nobility or even royalty. The birth would be spectacular and invite the respect of the rich and powerful throughout the world.

What might the Spirit be trying to say to us through the story of the birth of Jesus?

First of all God is to be found amongst the poor and powerless. Our God is prepared to undertake a rough and risky beginning.

Secondly, the story of the Incarnation and Birth has the capacity to awaken awe and mystery. It shows that God is willing to take a huge risk by being born and coming into the world in an unsafe, small town at the edge of civilisation.

The birth of Jesus hints of a new freedom, a freedom that we who idealise Jesus, Mary and Joseph do not always want. To experience freedom and the fullness of salvation means having to take a risk and trust in God.

In these final days of Advent let us remember that God, who is Lord of the Universe, has come among us as a child.