The story of Christmas as it is told is a little bizarre, even completely weird. Allegedly, if we are to believe the Christmas narrative, it involves a bunch of angels appearing and delivering messages, first to two women who were relatives, and then later to a group of shepherds minding their own flocks.
Whether you believe this narrative or not, I think it provides a story of hope for those who are most vulnerable – newborn babies entering the world. Not just newborn babies, but in this story a baby who was also homeless, born into poverty, and into the care of a young and ill-prepared mother.
Life is such a fragile and precious gift, and we too often just take it all for granted. For me, the Christmas message this year is about the possibility for hope and transformation in all of our lives through the birth of a baby called Jesus. In particular, this year I am thinking about how this relates to the calamity of child mortality – is it realistic that we might we also claim a sense of hope and transformation there are well?
I often think that the book which records this Christmas message, the Bible, is often greatly understated leaving much to the imagination. We could do worse than echo the hope given to a bunch of vulnerable shepherds, who responded in this brief vignette recorded in an historical account from a physician called Luke:
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”.