A Christmas Promise
Seems to me, the Christmas Story best-bits are in the very human humanness of it all. Yes, those heavenly hosts may sing; yes, a star so bright may herald a new-born King… but amongst all the cosmic signs and wonders there is a human heartbeat which breathes life into an otherwise very otherworldly story. We could examine the complex humanity of most of the nativity scene-stealers (and I don’t mean the little girl in the tinsel halo showing her knickers on the front row), but for brevity let’s just take a little, FX Christmas look at the only character that young Jesus would have had eyes for – his mother, Mary.
Let’s not dwell too long on the gore of childbirth (it’s just not that festive really), but imagine for a moment how the young woman would have felt as she beheld her newly delivered son. I’m guessing that in those first few moments after he was born Mary was not thinking “Here is the Son of God, I have been foretold of his greatness, and now my work is done…” My guess would be that her thoughts were not that dissimilar to any woman fortunate enough to gaze into the scrunched-up, angry face of their new-born, to kiss the frondy fingers of little hands that have never yet touched a thing on earth, to breathe in the love and awe and responsibility of holding this most precious of deliveries. “I will love you, I will look after you, I will help you be who you are born to be, I will never leave you,” Mary may have whispered in Jesus’ ear, “I am here, and I will do all that is in my power to help you grow.”
Perhaps this Christmas-time as we hear the familiar story once more, we could hold these imagined words of Mary in mind as we think of our Fresh Expressions movement and ministry. Maybe hold in mind the faces and places within our communities that we love, that we feel called to serve and to be alongside. Like a mother at the beginning of a journey of discovering and getting to know her new child, let’s renew again our commitment to let our emerging expressions of church take us in directions we can’t yet imagine. As Mary may have promised, “I am here”, our FX prayer is that across our network we too may know that holy and very-human presence of God breaking into our stories.
O come Emmanuel, God with us.
Merry Christmas from us all at Fresh Expressions.