‘Mary gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.’ Luke 2.7.
What can you make out of a tea towel and a roll of gold card? Yes, you guessed it - a ready made shepherd and Wise man. It is indeed the season for nativity plays when the youngsters (and not so young) remind us of the wonder of Christmas as they gather around the crib in the stable. Yet these plays are not without their anxious moments.
The class had been practising for weeks, the costumes and props were meticulously prepared and the songs energetically learned. The time had come to present ‘CHRISTMAS LOVE’. Thirteen children were chosen to hold up the huge letters that spelled the words, whilst others delivered lines that brought many a tear to the gathered crowd. As the time came for the letter M to be the star of the show, a gasp was heard was heard as the child holding the card had turned it upside down - W. The words now read CHRISTWAS LOVE. All the long hours seemed to have been wasted.
Yet surely that child had a message for us all. For we only have CHRISTMAS LOVE because CHRIST WAS LOVE. But is it all in the past? Is that why we see CHRISTMAS spelled XMAS so often, Christ taken out for he is no longer relevant.
No it’s not all in the past, CHRIST IS LOVE. His coming to earth, that very first Christmas was just the beginning of something so incredible. There God gave the greatest gift ever, His Son. And His Son gave the gift of life. And that life is for today, here and now. So let each one of us, whether we might consider ourselves kings or shepherds, whether we are the best or worst of spellers claim CHRISTmas back. Let us spell out to the world that Christ was and still is love.
‘So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of grace and truth, unfailing love and faithfulness.’ John 1.14.
Yours in Jesus,
Rev Michelle Ireland