And then there were all the nameless and faceless people who heard the shepherd’s story and probably were even more interested in this Galilean baby
Image via Wikipedia
that had been born in their town when three elegantly dressed men and their entourage showed up asking about some king of the Jews. They knew something about the Messiah, especially if they had grown up in the faith.
Some were expecting the Messiah to show up any minute. Others were hopeful. And others? Well they were just trying to get through the day.
They had seen and heard much over the years. They knew a bit about their heritage and history but now they looked around and saw Roman soldiers milling about and causing more problems and tension than they wanted to deal with. So they kept a low profile. And low expectations.
But Jesus came into their midst. And He would challenge their assumptions and views of and about the Messiah and God and life and death and faith.
Some of them would believe and stay true to this Jesus until the end of their lives.
Some of them would believe, falter, and give up on this Jesus.
Some of them would not believe at.all and they would turn on Jesus.
These nameless and faceless people mattered to God. So did the shepherds and the Magi. So did Mary and Joseph. So do we.
excerpt from December 25, 2011 sermon “Where You There When Jesus Christ Was Born?”
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From the pen of Dan Hotchkiss comes this gem of a story:
Once I helped a small church that had a hard time making a decision—any decision—and then carrying it out. I suggested that the governing board choose one modest, non-controversial goal. They did: the entrance to the church was almost invisible because a large tree had grown right in the doorway. The board approved the project, assigned it to a trusted leader, and approved the funds and the authority to remove the tree.
A few weeks later, I returned to lead a gathering on another subject and I asked how the tree project was coming. Apparently a small group in the congregation protested the removal on the grounds that,
1.) Trees are good, and
2.) This tree was a memorial.
My gathering turned into a forum on this issue. Eventually I was inspired to ask, “Who is the tree a memorial to?” After a brief pause, the protesters with a single voice said, “We can’t remember.”
We can’t remember…
It was George Santayana who said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”
What can’t we remember this advent season:
The name of the latest top 40 songs?
The name of latest You Tube craze?
The three gifts given by the Magi to the infant Christ?
Traditions are a great thing but what is it that they are helping us to remember? Are they the right things?
Are we remembering a ‘what’ or a ‘who?’
for Dan’s complete thoughts go here http://www.alban.org/conversation.aspx?id=9829