Isaiah 52:7-10 | Luke 2:1-16
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, these last couple of weeks, but everywhere you look, you see Christmas. Shop windows, TV shows, even the songs playing in the shopping centres. The crowds, the decorations, the way fat men dressed in red seem to appear at any social event. Even the business pages of the newspapers are filled with analysis of the Christmas season.
Christmas is all around us. And so it should be. Christmas is supposed to be everywhere. But… not in the way it is. Not trees, and santas and 24/7 advertising, where the nearest we get to the Christmas story is sentimental songs about a baby and nativity scenes with beautifully dressed parents in a very hygienic stable.
Nonetheless, Christmas should be everywhere, needs to be everywhere. In fact, the last place we should look for Christmas is in Church. Christmas didn’t happen in Church. Jesus wasn’t born in a church!, and though he did teach in the synagogue he also talked and worked and healed and lived outside – at weddings and dinner parties, in the fields, in the streets, in the homes of his friends. Amongst the intelligentsia and alongside farm workers, with priests and teachers, sinners and outcasts.
The Jesus story was never hidden away inside a building, never available only to a self-selecting few. In the story of his birth he was visited by shepherds and sages, locals and foreigners. In the story of his life he went to where people were; to the homes of outsiders, the villages of Samaritans, the temple and the marketplace. Even in the story of his death he spoke with Jew and Roman, judge and criminal.
For that was his message, the good news he brought: that whoever we are, whatever we have done, wherever we come from, we are invited to be part of the Kingdom of God.