Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Nativity

We watched this film a couple of days ago. It is not of high quality,
but it does give some insight into the culture and what this would have
meant for Mary and Joseph. In particular, three things struck me:

1) The shame that Mary and Joseph would have been under: Mary for
falling pregnant before marriage, and Joseph, because his decision to
stick by her would have been read as an admission that he had slept with
her. This encourages all of us who do actually do wrong, that even from
conception the Son of God did not keep himself from those around whom
there is an atmosphere of shame and guilt. It also encourages all who
are ostracised for their submission to God's word, that this was the
experience of both Jesus' parents.

2) The wonder of Jesus' birth itself. Familiarity can dampen this as
each Christmas passes. But the appearance of the angels, the control of
the heavens to mark out the spot where Christ was born, the drawing of
local shepherds and wise men from distant lands contrasts with the
insignificance of Jesus' parents, the small town of Bethlehem and humble
stable where the Son of God was born. This could not be made up. Human
authors could never conceive such a paradox with all that it implies.

3) God's control of events. This was not just in the aspects mentioned
above, but in turning the decisions of even the mighty Caesar to decide
on a census that would eventually ensure that the Christ was born in the
town Micah prophesied. What irony, that such great emporers are mere
tools in God's hands as he raises up the King of Kings whose kingdom is
already larger than any empire that has existed. What encouragement as
we wonder at the politics of our world and nation, to know that God
continues to govern them in such a way that history will ultimate
glorify his Son and his church (Eph 1v11, 22).