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“God is absolutely predictable in who He is, but absolutely unpredictable in what He does.” These words from the Christian teacher and prophet, Graham Cooke, are certainly borne out as we contemplate the Christmas story in the next week.
God is total love and mercy, and wants only to save us, from our sins, and from the crazy things we do to sabotage our salvation. Despite our first parents’ original sin in rebelling against His will, thus depriving themselves and the whole human race after them, of that sanctifying grace which gives us eternal life and happiness with God, even at the moment of supreme disaster, God steps in to speak a word of prophecy over them. He says there will come a time when an offspring of Eve will “crush the head” of Satan, who led her and Adam into such a catastrophic sin. We know that this offspring is to be Jesus.
What we are certainly NOT prepared for is that this Jesus would also be God’s own Son. As the Easter Exultet proclaims: “to ransom a slave, God gave away a Son.” “In the fullness of time”, St Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians (4:4). “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born of the Law, to ransom those who were under condemnation by the Law”. As we used to say back home in England, “Who’d have thunk it??”
Not only that, this Son of God, who will come to rule the nations, is born under conditions of great poverty, in an animal’s feeding trough, from parents who scarcely have enough to rub two pennies together (else they would not have had to rough it in such crude accommodation). No sooner is he born then this King of the Jews, is pursued by the henchmen of King Herod, also king of the Jews, who wants to kill the infant Jesus before he can take his throne from him. So this new-born King is forced to become a refugee with his parents, and emigrate to another country. Again, who’d have thunk it??
Ahead for Jesus is further rejection from his own people, desertion by his own supporters, betrayal by a close friend, denial by another, and a humiliating, gruesomely painful death on a cross, the cynosure of a whole group of mocking spectators. Yet, it is this very death, which will bring salvation to the world and establish Jesus as King of Glory.
In the words of one of my most favorite Christmas songs: “A Strange Way to Save the World!!”
A Merry Christmas and Happy and Holy New Year to all our parishioners
-Fr Bob, Deacon Mark and Deacon Louis.