Over the weeks leading up to Christmas we’ll be reviewing the events leading up to the birth of Mary’s Son. Luke draws attention to the numerous announcements of the birth of Jesus. Matthew is much more subdued simply mentioning that “an angel of the Lord” spoke to Joseph in a dream, and that this was the fulfilment of Isaiah 7:14. Mark does not even refer to the birth of Jesus – his coming is again in fulfilment of Scripture. John takes us back to the beginning and Genesis 1:1, and bypassing the birth, we meet Jesus the man. Luke in particular gives us much more detail. Each of these accounts puts different detail in the picture of the birth of Jesus.
Over the coming weeks we’ll especially consider Luke’s account. Luke very quickly tells us that he is basing his account on the information from eyewitnesses, which he has confirmed. He relates even the background to Jesus’ birth, the announcements from the angel Gabriel (yes, Luke gives us the angel’s name – it’s an element of authenticity). We see episodes of doubt from Zechariah, strong affirmation from Gabriel; puzzlement and acceptance from Mary. Expressions of joy and delight – even before Elizabeth or Mary give birth. The birth of Jesus is announced by angels filling the sky and sending the shepherds to Bethlehem; and King Herod is thunderstruck – another king?! And to escape danger, the angel warns Joseph to take Jesus and flee to Egypt – so Jesus becomes a refugee.
It is impressive that God has done so much to prepare for this event. Prophecies together with promises and longings in the Old Testament, all came into sharp focus on this baby. Gabriel’s messages confirm that the time has come. At that time many saw that the time of fulfilment had arrived. Those who knew God’s promises sang with delight.
This Christmas we will recall these events and give thanks to God for fulfilling his promises. Promises which shape and hold our future.
Michael Blake, Acting Rector
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