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December 14, 2017

What a wonderful, inclusive story surrounds the birth of Jesus.  We happily celebrate it at Christmas.  Its inclusiveness adds another dimension to the biblical statement: “the Word made flesh to dwell among us.”

– There is the young couple, Mary and Joseph, submissive to God and supportive of each other.  To them, in miraculous ways, a baby is born and a family is established.  What a critical lesson that simple fact brings to our confused and lost society.  A man, a woman and a child, a family, is center stage.  Interestingly, a family was part of creation and  now, again, at the incarnation.   Make that fact a vital aspect of your family’s Christmas celebrations.

– The celestial choir, God’s angelic host, filling the heavens with a song of praise, a word of hope and a promise of peace.  Seldom has such a message been more important to our encouragement for these troubled times.  So much is going wrong, morally, spiritually and politically.  Two thousand years later our world remains in shambles as fear lurks in the shadows wanting to leap into center stage.  But God’s purposes and promises are always sure: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”  He is coming again and He will bring that promised peace!

– The first humans to witness the stunning sight of holy angels in concert, and to receive the incredible, transforming message of God’s gift of His Son in human form, were some lowly shepherds.  They were the commoners, poor, hard-working, struggling for a living, doing the night shift.   They were societies’ forgotten and neglected.  How fitting, how godly, that they should not only be included, but among the first to know about the greatest event of human history!

– Ah, but God is no respecter of persons, for along with the shepherds were the wise men.  They were the rich and famous, the upper class, the world travelers.  God had tweeked their interest with an astronomical anomally – a special star, moving to a special place for a special reason.   They could not resist the invitation, nor its implications, so with keen interest and rich gifts, essential to their status and a new family’s needs, they came to a barn and a cradle – and worshiped!

– Then, there was Herod.  He was a ruler, a cruel, conniving despot.  Jealousy and fear made him a mass murderer –  of babies!   This wicked destroyer of families, at their most vulnerable stage, would countenance no potential rival to his authority or status.  The heartless slaughter of infants must speak volumes to hundreds of thousands of Canadians today.

– Is it not interesting that the story also includes a star, a barn and a variety of animals?  God’s full creation, His creatures, even darkness and light, were all part of the scene with its wonder, mystery and purpose.  It serves to remind us, it all belongs to God,  and comes under His authority and protection.  Whatever we think or do about ecology, it must start with God’s role, work and purpose.

– Last, but not the least, it tickles me to observe that vital to the story of inclusiveness is a couple of really old people, actually named, Simeon and Anna.  Probably both widowed, but fully informed and alert as to what was really happening.  They lived in the presence of God, listening carefully, speaking readily, praying correctly and adoring wisely the little child they knew was Christ, the Lord.  They spoke prophetic truth to the little family – warning, encouraging and instructing, doing what old people do best, given half a chance!

Yes indeed, it is a wonderfully inclusive story.  Every social strata, each with its needs and strengths, is carefully included in the amazing drama we call, Christmas.  A holy God, Master of the universe, took on our likeness in our world for all people for one magnificent reason – to save us from our sins and to direct our pathway to His heaven.

Have a truly wonderful, meaningful and happy Christmas.

A fellow pilgrim,  Arnold Reimer




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