Rev'd Karen - December 2022
The Vicar’s Light Reflections
Light Reflections… “Let your light shine…” (Matthew 5.16)
Where’s the baby?...Are you ready? Are you prepared?
As we move into December and the season of Advent we, as a family, will be hunting out the Christmas decorations, shaking out the tinsel, putting up the tree and unpacking the Nativity Set. It is a Nativity Set we have had for over 20 years bought from Woolworths! But just imagine, as you unpack your Nativity Set, how you would feel if baby Jesus wasn’t there. To be honest, he doesn’t appear in our house until Christmas Eve, after Midnight Mass; but how different would Christmas look and feel if he didn’t appear at all!
That is how Mark’s Gospel begins. In his gospel telling of the life of Jesus, there are no angels or shepherds, no stable or manger, no sheep, no lowing cattle or heavenly choir or wise men bearing gifts. These all appear in the gospels of Matthew and Luke but not in Mark. In Mark, Jesus suddenly appears as a 30’ish-year-old man having come from Nazareth in Galilee to be baptized by John in the River Jordan. Here, God’s voice is heard declaring to Jesus “You are my Son, the Beloved; in you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11) and Jesus then begins his public ministry of proclaiming that “the Kingdom of God has drawn near, repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
We then may ask ourselves, is Mark’s gospel relevant for Christmas if it doesn’t focus on Jesus’ birth? But it does speak into this season where we celebrate the incarnation, of God coming to live amongst us in his Son Jesus Christ. We need to view Christmas not only as the birth of the baby Jesus, but also of the coming of Christ, our Saviour into our world and lives. We may not get the cosy, romantic, soothing nativity stories of baby Jesus we get in Matthew and Luke, amazing as these are. But what we do get is a Saviour who is for life and not just for Christmas, to coin a phrase; a Saviour who challenged and still challenges an unjust and unbelieving world; a Saviour who is for the poor, the marginalised and disenfranchised; a Saviour who overturned the money changers tables in the Temple with righteous anger; a Saviour who heals the sick and dines with sinners; a Saviour and Redeemer who challenges us to live our lives in the light of his holiness and to offer and point our world to his transformative love.
It is these themes, in Mark, that we will be studying in our Advent Course, based on the book by Tracy S. Daub, Holy Disruption of anticipating the coming of Christ, of understanding what peace on earth means in our unpeaceful world, of our longing to belong and the revelation of this Messiah, who came to save us and finally the hope we have of God with us, Jesus Emmanuel. Are you ready to be challenged? Are you prepared for an Advent journey that will end with the gift of Jesus Christ himself alive and taking up home in our lives as “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood” (John 1:14 The Message).
From my family to yours, we wish you a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas.
Blessings, Rev’d Karen
Christ Centered...Kingdom Focused