Today marks the first Sunday of Advent. It also is the birth day of the newest member of our family, my grand-niece, Ivy, who was born less than four hours ago.
Christmas season is in full swing. Santa Claus has arrived in parades and malls, stores have extended hours for a busy shoppers, church choirs are rehearsing cantatas, and parties and family gatherings are being planned.
The first chapter of the Gospel of John describes the coming of the Messiah to earth. These verses are from The Message.
and yet the world didn't even notice..."
"The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighbourhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son, generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
How can we celebrate the coming of Christ to earth? Do people in my "neighbourhood" know I am a follower of Christ? Is my worship and service restricted to a particular church building where people may look for a God who thinks the way they do and fits the box they made for him? Or do I reach out and touch the flesh of those who are needy, who are not like me, who are hurting and lonely? Will I be generous inside and out, true from start to finish?
Our family has welcomed many babies over the years. Ivy is our flesh and blood and will be loved and admired as she grows and develops.
Jesus showed us that everyone in the world is our flesh and blood. He came to all mankind and those who follow his example must do the same.
If I could visit Bethlehem,
what presents would I bring?
If I could see what happened then,
what would I say or sing?
I wouldn't take a modern toy,
but gold to pay for bread,
some wine to give his parents joy,
and wool to warm his bed.
I'd learn some simple words to speak
in Aramaic tongue.
I'd cradle him, and kiss his cheek,
and say, "I'm glad you've come."
If Mary asked me who I was
and what her child would do;
I wouldn't talk about the cross,
or tell her all I knew.
I'd say, "He'll never hurt or kill,
and joy will follow tears.
We'll know his name and love him still,
in twenty hundred years."
I cannot visit Bethlehem,
but what I can, I'll do:
I'll love you, Jesus as my friend,
and give my life to you.
© 1990 Stainer & Bell Ltd