Thoughts for Christmas.

We made it. Christmas is here. Whatever route you took – through the invitation of Advent to take time each day to prepare in peace, love, joy, hope; or the busy route and frantic finishing in time for holidays and preparation for the big day – we are here at last.
What is Christmas for you – there are no right answers. For most it is a time to celebrate family, giving and generosity, kindness and peace. For others it is a hard time of sadness, loneliness, grief.
For me it is all that and more. In Christmas we are invited to enter into the wonder and mystery of the incarnation – that God is among us. Franciscan priest Richard Rohr describes this as God's pre-emptive strike for love. Not a rescue mission. Not a response to anything humanity had done. But, as John Dunne Scotus says, the coming of God’s self in Christ in love as God's first self-giving thought.
Christmas is a joyous shout of praise for God’s eternal faithfulness. It is knowing, despite the evidence, that God is bringing justice, peace, hope, life to all. Evil is defeated. Humanity is being restored. Creation is being renewed.

The traditional site of Jesus birth

This Bethlehem Spot

Was Jesus born in this Bethlehem spot?
Not a nice stable at the back of an inn,
but the animal end of an ordinary house-cave
among the dung and the feed?
Did Mary breathe deep, hold and push
in this underground smoke darkened shrine?
Did Joseph stand helpless among the men
safe away from the blood, pain and tears
around a fire warmed against the winter chill?
Did the whenua of God lie on this
star shaped spot where millions have prayed?
Is it here God inhaled that life giving breath
and exhaled that first joyful cry?

I don’t know!
And none of it matters…
Unless Jesus is born in me this Christmas
Unless I breathe life afresh with God
Unless I leave the helpless men
at the safe end of my cave
and join the woman in the
messy hand dirtying work
of giving birth to God’s world today.