Focal Point (for publishing-21/12/04)
Christmas: The Baby Grows Up
Watching a recent nativity play, I was amused when 'Mary' strode up to the manger and threw the baby in. I guess the little girl/Mary was probably not in the right mood. What kind of mood must the original Mary have been in after days of jolting on a donkey while in the last days of pregnancy and then hearing the news that all accommodation was taken. "The animal's stable is all we have and you can use the feed box to put the baby in". She must have been at the end of her tether. All over the world this Christmas babies will represent Jesus in nativity scenes, but I wonder how many of us will think of that baby as grown up and what the implications are for us. Even Mary, Jesus' mother could not fully conceive of the real life and drama that would be played out in history through her Son. We all need to understand this drama, but the men I work with in counselling who are feeling lost, lonely and alienated and striving to re-find the true meaning of life and manhood, would do well to emulate the model of the 'grownup' Jesus. We have 'All American' this and that, 'All Australian' teams and men, but by any measure, Jesus The Christ, the 'grownup' baby, was and is the 'All World Man'. I am reading a book entitled 'The Manhood of Jesus' by H. E. Fosdick and I'm re-fired in my enthusiasm to follow such a man. Of course I hear some say, well, He had a jump start after all, He was the Son of God and divine and all that and could do miracles etc. Well there is a new search for the historical Jesus going on worldwide and what is showing up is a true man, fully human. Yes, granted, God incarnate, but required to travel this earth with all the ailments, pains and joy of humanity. Why? So He could fully identify with the human struggle with sin and the pain of death. What a man: To resist temptation as He did, to hold intelligent dialogue with His elders as a youth, to hold faster to His mission in life than Ghandi or Mandela, to be a greater fighter for the underdog than Lec Walensa, to push for world peace harder than the UN and to be driven by compassion for the healing of bodies and souls far more than Mother Teresa as an individual and World Vision as a body. His tears unashamedly fell when confronted with human pain. Now He is in His new role as guide and advocate in the Heavens and the promiser of Eternal Life in the future for all who would receive it. Count me in. When you sing the carols this year, pay particular attention to the words of 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing'. May God bless you this Christmas with a new insight.
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Co-ordinator Focal Point