From The Rectory

While the date of the election was debated, voices were questioning the wisdom of electioneering as people prepared for Christmas. How many candidates would really want to disturb festive preparations with their political message and how amenable would voters be to their time of partying being interrupted with political broadcasts? Or Nativity Plays happening alongside polling booths?

It got me thinking about the first Christmas and the way the birth of Jesus is told in Luke’s gospel. The story begins with the Emperor Augustus calling for a census –a huge political event when everyone had to go back to their home towns to be registered. When you think about it, this was much more disruptive than an election during Advent!

Jesus was born in Bethlehem precisely because of this big political event, because Joseph had to go home to be registered and Mary, pregnant with Jesus, went with him. I am sure in those days the census would have only recorded adult males – but if it did include the members of a man’s household too, I wonder if Jesus was born in time to be registered, or did God’s Son come into the world an unregistered person? No doubt there was plenty of partying going on in Bethlehem with extended family members taking the opportunity of the required journey to meet up and spend time with each other in a way not usually possible. The inns were full of such visitors, perhaps making it a holiday season.

So Christmas happened hidden from view in a place where they fed the animals. Now Christians believe it began the biggest interruption to normal life of all time! In a time of politics and partying, Jesus’ birth, is the best interruption to human life on offer. God enters into the midst of creation, of culture, of family life as one of us, to show us what a human living in the fullness of Love is like. God comes to us as a helpless, homeless child, while everyone else had their eyes on politics and partying, to show us how God loves and values each and every child, each hidden life, each and every one of us: we are deeply precious in God’s sight. My prayer for us all this Advent and Christmas-tide is that we allow God’s love to interrupt our partying and our politics with the knowledge of how precious every life is. Then we can cast our vote in the way we each believe will best benefit the most vulnerable people in our world and we can celebrate Christmas with the fullness of the true joy of knowing we are loved can bring.

God bless, Samantha



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