A humble beginning: challenging our human values this Christmas
Tuesday, 20 December 2016
“She gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger.”
The birth of Jesus more than 2000 years ago was humble. He disappointed many. He was expected to be a King or at least a prophet of such standing that Israel would be freed from oppression.
Instead, Jesus was born in an occupied country, into a world of poverty, in a stable. Soon after, his family became refugees as they fled for their safety into Egypt.
Even today some people expect Jesus to restore fortunes, bring peace, harmony and prosperity, and end war and sickness … and because these do not occur automatically, some claim Christianity and indeed all religion and faith to lack credibility.
The insight for us in what Christmas is all about, however, is actually found in the humble beginnings of Jesus’ birth. Although inauspicious, the event demonstrates dignity is found in things that some consider have little world status. Through Christmas our human values are challenged.
What do we want Christmas to mean to us? For me, Christmas is about reflecting those human values Jesus demonstrated—generosity, compassion, hospitality, and putting others first.
God’s present to the world was the loving presence of Jesus among us. If you read the gospel stories it is apparent that Jesus rarely gave material things to people. Instead he gave his personal presence and gifts such as healing, belief in self, peace of mind, compassion, mercy, dignity, forgiveness and justice.
As we gather to celebrate the birth of Christ, I ask you reflect on these values and gifts of spirit—particularly as we think about those, who sadly, will experience a less than festive Christmas period.
There will be people experiencing their first Christmas alone; their first Christmas fighting serious illness; their first Christmas without a loved family member or friend—so I encourage you to share the Christmas spirit and extend the hand of friendship and compassion to friends facing less festive situations this Christmas.
We should try to experience, and help others see Christmas for all the wonder, innocence, joy, love, generosity, and sense of community it can bring. The story of Christmas may be simple and familiar but it requires a leap of faith, and challenges cynicism and indifference.
In becoming caught up in buying presents and other commercial aspects of Christmas, we can sometimes lose sight of how sharing our presence in a small, almost unnoticeable way can help warm and transform the lives of people around us.
May the spirit of Mercy be with you this Christmas.
Madonna McGahan, Group Director, Mission Leadership
Posted: 20/12/2016 12:53:18 PM
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Tags: Christmas, Madonna McGahan, Mission