In our current age of technology, most people can know, if they want to, what their baby will be before he or she is born – scans reveal the sex of the baby, and plans can be made as to nursery decoration, clothes, names etc. Some choose to reveal what they are having by baking a cake and at a party, when it is cut into, the sponge is either blue or pink, letting folk know what is coming. However there are still some parents who choose to wait for the moment their child is born to find out what they have been gifted with.
This year it struck me for the first time that Mary knew exactly what it was that she was having – a boy; she knew his name – Jesus; where he was to be born – Bethlehem; and what he was going to grow up to be – The Messiah. God’s scans then were even more in-depth than the ones we have today! Not that we should be surprised. Psalm 139 reminds us that we were all known by God before we were born!
A deacon colleague told me of a Christmas Day service she planned as a worship leader. She said, “A birthday is a party, and at a party you have food and a cake and you play games.” So she played pass the parcel during the singing of a carol, and when it was opened, out of the box came a balloon saying “It’s a Boy.” I have to admit to stealing the idea and taking a balloon to services on Christmas Day to tie to the foot of the manger, making the point, that Jesus, God the Son, came as the Son of God. Wow!
When I was at Theological College all our assumptions and thoughts were challenged, and I had at that time an incredible revelation for me! When I was in my mother’s womb I was the closest I could be to her, yet I didn’t know her; I heard her voice and knew her heartbeat, but not what she looked like. It was only on birth that I came face to face with her. We did not know what God was like until he came face to face with us through his birth in Jesus, and in that “baby boy” the nature, the love, the energy, the sacrifice of God would be revealed. With this incredible revelation I have to ask myself, “how have we as a society reduced the true meaning of Christmas to a time of frenetic buying and eating”? Where the one whose birthday we are celebrating doesn’t even get a present or a birthday cake!
Thank you, loving, giving God for gifting us with Christmas.
You can download this Prayer for the Week as a .pdf here.
Weekly Prayers for December by Denise Creed.