There’s a poem by Michael Leunig, which gives us a modern version of the shepherds.
While shepherds watched their phones by night
All seated at the bar.
An angel texted them to say
Look up and see the star. Michael Leunig
Christmas is an invitation to all of us to look up and see stars. Stars of wonder, stars of might, stars of Royal beauty bright, as the Carol says. Stars where the angels sing.
The star is an invitation to hope. For many around the world this year has not been easy. War in Ukraine, fears of war in Asia, in many places people feel unsafe, insecure. Some flee their homes, others live in fear. Even in generally safe and prosperous Australia I ask myself if my children’s and grandchildren’s generations will have as secure, prosperous and safe a life as my generation has generally had.
Christmas calls us to hope however. Jesus was not born into safety and security. In the words of the English priest poet Malcolm Guite:
We think of him as safe beneath the steeple. Or cosy in a crib beside the font, But he is with a million displaced people On the long road of weariness and want.
He is with the insecure and the unsafe, the homeless and the poor. He is Emmanuel — God-with-us; and perhaps with them, the insecure, unsafe, homeless and poor, especially. For their circumstances are his: Jesus, our saviour, God with us, was born a refugee, in poverty and persecuted.
Christmas reminds us that God is with us, indeed, that we can share the life of Jesus, share the divine life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If we want to see Jesus alive let’s look at each other, and have the vision to see the spark of love inside each human being, no matter how unlikely it may seem.
A few weeks ago I read a simple prayer, five words. Be born in us, Lord. I invite you to pray that prayer in your hearts this Christmas, pray that Jesus be born in each one of us, that hope, love and joy are alive in all of us, and that we see that in all those we meet.
May we all have a joyous Christmas!