Read Luke 2:4-7 (New International Version)
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them.
What does your family look like this Christmas?
Are you among a horde of ravenous relo’s, soon to descend out of a blizzard of wrapping paper and exploding bonbons, to alight on a stacked Christmas table?
Or are you placing a setting for one, at a table that once hosted many more?
Christmas is a time for family, but it can also be a time of comparison.
It’s easy to look at the joyful festivals of TV commercials and Christmas specials, and wonder if our Christmas is somehow falling short.
Today, let’s move our gaze of today’s 21st Century Christmas – and journey to that little shed behind a clay daubed hotel in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.
We see two strangers in town, giving birth to a child with only coarse hay and rags as their delivery suite. Backlit by a flickering candle, two shadows become three. To the passer-by, this is most certainly a pitiful sight.
Yes, the shepherds came – and so too did the wealthy scholars from a country many couldn’t even pronounce.
But before all of that – there is just two.
Looking at this splinter of a moment, it’s hard not to feel the sorrow and sadness for these two and that unfortunate child. What future was there for them?
Now let’s take another look.
Instead of peering in and down, look skyward to the hosts of heaven hovering over that family. The Creator of the Universe is announcing to all of creation, that this man and woman are His family!
They are royalty!
This little defenceless child resting in a feed stall is a physical reminder that not all is what is appears!
This child dependent on his mother and father for everything to sustain life – is the Son of God. He IS life.
Far from lonely, Joseph and Mary are at the centre of an eternal family.
We all do it. We all see part of life’s story. That’s the human condition.
This Christmas, if it seems you’re alone (even when among many) – pause again at that shed behind the fully booked guest house two millennia ago, and celebrate being part of a family that is more than it appears.