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Words of Wooliness

On Saturday morning we gather to celebrate the coming of the Christ Child – Immanuel – God with us. Prior to that we will have sat with those for whom Christmas is not a season of happiness and bright Christmas Carols.

I also get to share the Christmas story with the residents of Victoria by the Park Aged Care centre. Then there is our traditional Christmas Eve service as we get ready for Christmas morning. This year, as we did last year, we are not worshipping in our building on the Sunday immediately after Christmas, but you have resources to make some time at home and stop to worship. Know you will not be doing that alone, that we will all join in, maybe not at the same time but we’ll be there.

Christmas morning we hear the story of Christ’s birth through the lens of the Shepherds. It is so fitting that these men, who were considered less than men, outcasts, lowly, some of them even criminals or at least not the sort of person good people and families would associate socially with, tell us the story and are the first to greet the child. I’ve been speaking about the other, those not usually accepted easily into society, those who are different from us in appearance, gender, background and thinking, for the last 6 months or maybe even longer.

That’s who the shepherds were at the time of Christ’s birth – very much the other. But it was to them that the angels came. I believe this was God bringing these lowly shepherds back into community. They had a very important role to play in the coming of the child. They were the communication agents; they were the ones who not only saw the child but then went about sharing that news and their experiences. The shepherds are an essential part of the nativity story – we can’t do without them. For me that is the same for all humanity.

We cannot do without anyone. All are important, all have a part to play, all are valued and loved, all are created in the image of God. I want us to keep this in mind as we begin our exploration of the Gospel of John after Christmas morning. We begin with the invitation from Jesus to come and see. This year I really want us to set aside our perceptions and accept the invitation to come and see. Come and see what God has in store for us, come and see who and how we can be part of our community, come and see how we can share the good news with all around us.

Our final Sunday before our pewsheet starts up again is the Wedding at Cana and I have some interesting insights (at least I think they are) that I plan to share with you about this event in the life of Jesus and the world. We’ll see if you agree with me, or if it makes you think a little deeper, whatever the result I pray that the story of the water turning into rich renewing wine will inspire and feed us even more than usual.

Jay Robinson

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