Christmas Context

There was once a tiny nation, at the green and pleasant crossroads between history’s great powers, constantly buffeted this way and that, kicked around, conquered and swamped again and again by this side or that throughout its history, and now firmly in the iron jaws of the greatest of them all. This power was used to dealing with and crushing all rebellion against its might. Every proud voice was silenced, every upraised head was beaten down into the dust. Everyone left standing was cowed and compliant. This was a conquered, beaten people.

And yet a spark of hope remained. A promise from the distant past. A promise that the time was close approaching when everything would change. A promise of rescue from their greatest foe. A promise of a new beginning, of a new kind of access to the source of all life, love, joy, beauty, peace and majesty, the very creator of the universe.

Surely the almighty would come down in glory, defend his people and sweep away the armies of the oppressor, then rule forever from a throne more glorious than Caesar’s?

No.

Surely He would reveal himself to the mightiest of all rulers and bring him to repentance, so that His people will be free to worship Him at his glorious Temple, and rule over the other nations with wisdom and justice?

Not his priority.

Eternity will enter time, deity and humanity will meet more intimately than ever before, a whole new path to God will be opened up. A host of angels and even the stars themselves declare the majesty of the occasion, but the event itself?

A child is born, to poor parents in a poor and insignificant little town. The greatest event in history, God becoming flesh, seems hidden, inappropriate.

Or is it? What better mechanism for the greatest miracle of them all than that of the greatest miracle of humanity? What better means to defeat death itself than the means humanity uses to combat its own mortality? What better path to new life, new hope, new possibilities, new relationships, a new society, than the way humanity brings them about across the world four times a second?

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