Take a fresh look at the nativity story this Christmas
Published 22 December 2011
You could be forgiven for thinking that snow and holly are all part of the story underpinning the Christmas season, but perhaps we need to come at it again, says Methodist President the Rev Leo Osborn.
He is challenging people to abandon their past assumptions about the nativity story and take a fresh look.
“We all bring our pre-suppositions to the Christmas story, don’t we, perhaps expecting to find not only three wise men but kings and innkeepers not to mention donkeys, holly, ivy and snow! But you’ll be hard pushed to discover any of them in the Gospel narratives,” he says in his Christmas message.
He admitted that while some of the traditional associations of Christmas add nothing to the Gospel story, they could make us feel “sentimentally better”.
“Well perhaps this Christmas each of us needs to come again to this oh so familiar story, asking that God would take away the pre-supposition that we’ve seen it all or know it all and help us to reflect on things in a new light.
"Or perhaps to have light shed on something long since known but forgotten or ignored.
“For, if we look carefully, this simple story may have important things to say to us about many of the personal, social, religious and international issues facing us and our world today, and God’s part in them all.”
Challenging presuppositions and opening is “what God is always about”, he continues, suggesting that people should be ready for some surprises in 2012.
“For the coming year you may already have imagined - or planned out - how life or faith or church is going to be.
“Well prepare to be surprised like Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and wise men were long ago!
“But remember too that the one who came and comes is named Emmanuel - God with us - so whatever may be different from what you imagine and however things may seem as a result, God remains the same - dwelling alongside you in grace, truth and love.”
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