Thought for the week – Reverend David Jones
IS there anything new to say about Christmas? After all, we are so very familiar with the Christmas message of angles and shepherds that we often take the story for granted and without too much thought.
Then there’s Mary and Joseph whose obedience and submission to God’s will was complete and without question; add to that the reluctant innkeeper and wise men who travelled far and the story seems complete – or is it?
We often overlook that behind that first Christmas was the evil of King Herod whose jealousy and paranoia led to the murder of all the baby boys born in Bethlehem. His intent was to secure No 1 – his ranting and deviousness gave no second thought to the enormity of the suffering he had instigated as a whole generation was wiped out at a whim. Sadly, we still see him today in regimes that have no place for human rights and where those who challenge are seen as easily expendable.
This last year the Rohingya people were forced to flee for their lives to avoid annihilation as a people. The continued suffering in Yemen is reflected in the gaunt faces of children and the desperation of parents who have no one to turn to.
It’s the Christmas story again – no room at the inn – the threat of destitution and death at the hands of cruel oppressors – is this then the inevitable legacy for so many in our world as we approach a new year? surely there is a better way. The Christmas angels sang of peace and goodwill to all humanity through the Saviour born in Bethlehem. Jesus grew to the maturity of manhood and spoke of loving our neighbour with no boundaries of culture, religion or race.
Christmas leads on to Easter and to the certainty of the judgement that will come upon all who do evil. Herod’s way always leads to devastation, destruction and untold suffering while the way of the shepherds and wise men bring us to the manger where divine light diffused the darkness of such evil and sin. Judgement came quickly upon Herod and his end meant that the Holy family were able to return safely home. Is there then anything new to say? Not really, other than that Christmas is a continuing story that gives us the certain hope of the final reign of God – Herod’s days are numbered! ‘O tidings of comfort and joy’