In protest over the commercialisation of Christmas Art, Conrad placed a Father Christmas on a 5m high cross in front of his home with the inscription: “Santa died for your Master Card”. That is quite a statement. But one thing we can be sure of is that Santa will never be enough of a threat to be crucified by the powers that be. The mascots of money are courted not crucified.
Grace and Peace to you
“Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? … For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” [1 Corinthians 1:20]
Yes I know Paul was speaking about the Cross when he penned these words but they are equally true about the “foolish” birth of Jesus. Paul continues: “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.” [1 Corinthians 1:27-28].
What a foolish God this is to choose to be born into poverty within a country under hostile occupation. Jesus needed saving before he could start his saving work. A refugee child on the run is how Jesus’ life began.
What a foolish God this is to choose to be born as a “nobody”. I mean, why not come as someone powerful or at least popular? Someone who could “get the message out” far and wide? One who had access to important people with money and who could influence the real decision-makers?
What a foolish God indeed.
As it was in the beginning so it was with Jesus’ birth. God specialises in creating out of nothing. All through scripture we see God doing wonders with so-called nobodies. Now this is affirming news when we feel like nobodies and it is also a reminder that the Divine more often than not comes to us from the unwanted margins of society. Those ignored and maligned, downtrodden and forgotten are who God uses to turn this world right-way-up. Christmas invites us to take our lead from the despised and marginalised.
Prayer of Preparation
CHRIST THE HUMBLE CHILD AMONG US
Humble child of Bethlehem, whose parents found no room in the inn,
we pray for all who are homeless.
Humble child of Bethlehem, born in a stable,
we pray for all who live in poverty.
Humble child of Bethlehem, rejected stranger,
we pray for all who are lost, alone, all who cry for loved ones.
Humble child of Bethlehem, whom Herod sought to kill,
we pray for all who live with danger, all who are persecuted.
Humble child of Bethlehem, a refugee in Egypt,
we pray for all refugees throughout the world.
Humble child of Bethlehem, in you God was pleased to dwell,
help us, we pray, to see the divine image in people everywhere. Amen.
David Blanchflower 1987