As we prepare ourselves for a Christmas break, let us spend some time remembering the reason for the season. The first Christmas went under the radar. Mary and Joseph arrived at a busy town, unable to find accommodation. Jesus was born out of sight of many, apart from those whom the angels had informed of the event – the shepherds. The depth of significance of their inclusion in the birth cannot be overstated. Shepherds represented those left out. In the Old Testament, David was a shepherd boy who was left out when his dad was asked to assemble his sons - when Samuel came to anoint a new king. But God chose the shepherd boy to be king, and to be part of the birth narrative too.
Each year, there seems to be a greater hope in Christmas. It is a chance to reflect on the year gone and to mark the beginning of something new, something better. Christmas is marked with lights. As the shortest day (the longest night), passes on the 21st of December, we see hope start to rise.
This hope, this light, this joy has a name – Jesus.
The name Jesus means ‘Saviour’. The name Immanuel means ‘God with us'. The saviour was born.
Fast forward 30 years and we see the reason for the season. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gave his life for the sheep. Through his death, we receive life in all its fullness. We read in John 3:17 the reason for Jesus’ birth, life, and death; “For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
When I think of the death of Jesus, I am reminded of the scene form ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', where Aslan is killed because of the actions of the boy Edmund. Jesus’ death was a response to sin and resulted in sin’s defeat.
This Christmas, as we reflect on the year that has passed and mark the beginning of something new, take time to remember the reason for the season. May you know the peace that he brings and the hope of a blessed new year.