Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas - Don't be Afraid! It's only a baby!

It's easy to say, but not so easy to put into practice ... but this Christmas at Lees Street, one of the things we valued was the angel's word of encouragement to Joseph: "Do not be afraid" - and we said it to each other. It's something we need to hear in today's world; that we are here for each other, to help comfort one another in our fear, to help bring God's peace. Do not be afraid ...

In our Christingle service, I said that the angel had said this, and Sofia (aged 4) added, "It's only a baby!" Don't be afraid - it's only a baby! She thought it was funny that Joseph should be scared at all - why worry? It's only a baby! And on the one hand, it was certainly a funny moment - and it helped put the whole Christmas story and stress into perspective - don't worry; don't worry about getting everything just so; don't worry about all the wrapping, all the lists of things that 'need' doing, because it's only a baby - and a baby doesn't worry about all those things ... all the baby worries about is some love ... (as well as some food, and warmth, and security, of course) ... not a bad thing to focus on - love.

But on the other hand, the story tells us that some people were fearful of this baby - represented by the King Herod. The powers-that-be feared that this baby represented a new kind of start, as prophets and wise men foresaw. And this is something to give us hope - Joseph needn't worry, because God isn't afraid of scandal; but the powers-that-be, the vested interests in our world ought to be worried, because this birth represents a new beginning ... so take heart, dream wide awake, be ready to join with God in this new thing, do not be afraid, because it's only a baby - a baby who will shake the world and turn things upside-down.