Summary: If I was given the task of deciding how the Son of God would come to this earth, I would followed human reasoning to get the best conditions for Jesus message to have reached the most people. But God did it differently
Christmas at WSG and WSMM 2016
The Christmas Story Luke 2:1-14
A Scottish farmer did not believe in the Christmas story.
The idea that God would become a man was absurd.
His wife however was a devout Christian and had raised their children as Christians.
The farmer would sometimes mock her and give her a hard time about her faith.
In particular he could not believe that God would want to come into this world as the little Baby born in Bethlehem 2000 or more years ago.
“It’s nonsense” he said: “Why should God lower himself to become a man like us?”
One Sunday just before Christmas his wife took the children to church, while the farmer relaxed at home in front of a blazing fire.
Suddenly the weather took a turn for the worse, deteriorating into a blinding snow storm, driven by a freezing north wind.
Suddenly he heard a thump on the window, followed by another.
When he went to investigate he found a flock of grey geese disorientated by the storm in his farmyard.
The farmer had compassion on them.
He wanted to help and realised they needed to get out of the storm into the shelter of his barn.
He opened the barn doors and hung up a lamp. BUT THEY WOULD NOT GO IN.
He laid out a trail of bread into the barn
BUT THEY STILL WOULDN’T GO IN.
He tried to shoo them in but to no avail.
Nothing he could do would get them out of the storm into his nice warm barn.
Utterly frustrated, he cried out loud: “Why can’t you fools just follow me in. Can’t you see that I am trying to help you and give you shelter?”
Then he thought: “I wish I could communicate with them. If only I could become like one of them, I could show them the way to go and then I could save them”
He suddenly stopped.
He remembered where his family was and what he had learned in Sunday school
AND AT LAST he understood why God had to become a man.
And he fell down on his knees and thanked God for becoming a man.
And as he looked up – to his amazement he saw the grey geese going into his barn and a white goose was leading them.
(My thanks to John Wright for this story)
Have you, like that Scottish farmer, ever wondered why God became man, an event we celebrate each Christmas?
Do you ever think: Why God did became man?
For that is what the Christmas story is all about.
The Son of God became a man.
Now if I had been planning for God to become a man, I would have made sure that he was born at the highest rank in the Roman world – say a son of Caesar, with the best doctors in town to make sure his delivery was a safe one.
I would have made sure that he was born in a city like Rome Athens or Alexandria , where he had the greatest chance of his message being heard by the greatest number of people.
But what actually happened when God became man
What do we know about the birth of Jesus?
He was born in an obscure village, Bethlehem – in a stable rather than in a hotel room.
Because a pregnant woman was not seen as important enough to shift another guest.
2. Second rate citizen
He was a member of a defeated race - a second-class citizen in his own country, with next to no rights at all.
And what is more he was brought up in the backwoods of the Roman Empire - Judea. It was the sort of place that you were sent to as a Roman Procurator if you had drawn the short straw!
His parents were poor and came from Galilee, a province that was looked down upon. A bit like the North –South divide in England today. Galileans were considered to be “hill-billies”.
Not great credentials to impact the world stage! So how come this baby become the greatest “mover and shaker” that the world has ever seen?
I think our Christmas readings give us some indicators.
1. A Saviour (Lk. 2:11)
In (one of ) our Gospel readings , Luke records how God sent a revelation to Shepherds in a field outside Jerusalem.
And the Angel who brought the message had this to say about the little baby born in Bethlehem:
“Do not be afraid; for see I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people. To you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord…” (Lk 2:10,11)
Man is separated from God by his sin. As St. Paul said: “The wages of sin are death” (Rom 6:23)