25. Arrival

Short Meds in Getting Ready in Covid-Advent: 25. Arrival

Lk 2:7 she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

It’s happened; in the midst of all the hassle of conforming to a ruler’s wishes, they are safely ensconced in what seems to be a stable and Jesus is born safely. Mind blowingly, God has arrived on earth. No fanfare of trumpets (yet) just a usual messy birth, and then, there he is, safe and sound, mother and baby doing well. Text your friends, put it on Facebook, he’s arrived and all is well!!! No don’t bother, God’s got His own way in announcing it. Just rejoice in the wonder of this day. If you are a mother empathize with Mary. If you are a new excited dad, rejoice with Joseph. It’s happened! It really did! Rejoice!

Depending where we are today and on what government dictates we are having to conform to – or not – today will be a strange Christmas. Around the world we celebrate it in different ways, some with lots of fanfare, others less so. Depending on whether we are sensible rule-followers or flamboyant risk-takers,  today we will be celebrating either alone or in families, but whatever it is, there is this thing hanging over us called a Pandemic, and until proven vaccines are fully in use, it will continue. This year is different from a year ago.

And isn’t that how it must have been for Mary & Joseph. A year ago they were planning their wedding. They were betrothed and life was good. And then an angel turns up and it is all changed. God steps into their lives in a way they would never have dreamed of and suddenly life is different, uncertain, and the future has a major question mark over it – and it’s all God’s fault. No, ‘fault’ is the wrong word, it’s God’s doing. Fault implies blame and for the moment He certainly is the cause of them having a baby on their hands, but blame implies a negative view of responsibility. Yes, God is responsible for sending His Son to the earth in the form of a tiny baby and some thirty-three years later he will offer himself for our sins and redemption is achieved. Yes, perhaps God could have stepped in and prevented Chinese scientists being careless and allowing this virus to break out. Yes, perhaps God could have stepped in and prevented hundreds of people being silly and having too close a contact and ignoring the advice and so catch or pass on something that may result in premature death. But God has to work into a fallen world and He works with fallen, imperfect people to achieve His goals and seems to hesitate overriding their free will. The equation God + woman (Mary) = miracle, is amazing and one that deserves our worship this day. Don’t be too busy to worship.

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