“Listen to me, you who pursue integrity,
Who see k the Lord?
Consider the rock you were hewn from
The quarry from which you were cut.” (Isaiah 51:1)
“No one to be lost and everyone to change their ways.” (2 Peter 3:9)
This is my 59th attempt to say something meaningful on the feast of Christmas. A chance occurrence during the week led to these thoughts which are based principally upon the examination of what we can glean from the two women, Mary and Elizabeth, and the two men, Joseph and Zechariah.
Many think we have been hard done by during the pandemic; lock ups, face masks, QR codes, signups, quarantine, isolation and, of course, being vaccinated.
Sadly, this has led to arguments, loss of jobs, breakups, and lack of peace. In a sense this is the rock that we have been hewn from, let alone the quarry from which we were cut in recent times.
Some think all was meek and mild when John and Jesus were born and lived. Not so. Consider that their country was occupied by the Romans. The Romans ruled harshly, punished severely. Jews has no rights. In 4 BCE Quinctilius Varus crucified 2000 rebels. There were several other mass crucifixions
between 4 BCE and the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The massacre of the innocents, let alone the “head on the dish”, complement the truth that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was the place to fall amongst thieves. They were hewn from very hard rock and cut in a very rugged quarry. It was into such an environment that the baby Jesus came.
He came amidst turmoil in the respective families. Joseph had to deal with the common expectations of his community…send her away. Zechariah was world wise and blunt. He laughed at the idea that Elizabeth could conceive. Joseph accepted the instruction and wore the expected humiliation from his community. Zechariah was struck dumb, and the last laugh was on him. But he changed.
One babe was the fulfilment of the promise, the other the proclaimer…No major army. No great Naval power. The babe was to be the source of salvation and the source of peace. Both gave their lives, horribly treated that we might have life and have it to the full.
The truth was that, as Peter wrote, “No one to be lost. Everyone to change their ways.”
We have been battling to accept this instruction for 2000 years. Some generations have made more progress, many have rejected the invitation.
This is our time.
Do we stand with Jesus and work for peace; civil and religious? Or do we continue to do our own thing?
May the message of the angels resonate in each and every heart this 2021.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven. And peace to people who enjoy his favour.”