East Trent Churches
In a place not too far away from East Trent, a brand new, smart and up to date medical centre was built next to a busy bus stop and shelter which had been there for many years. To make it easy to get into the new medical centre, the bus stop was moved from one end of the shelter to the other. It shouldn’t have caused any problem, the bus was still stopping in more or less the same place, but we passengers were creatures of habit and were used to forming orderly queues facing the place we expected the bus to stop. Imagine our confusion when the bus drove past our expectant faces and we all had to turn around to get on. What’s more, those of us at the front of the queue ended up at the back and those who’d turned up last, got on first.
Why do I think about this at this time of year? Well we are creatures of habit and we know what we like and expect at Christmas. What carol would you miss singing if it wasn’t included in a carol service? But more than that, I’m reminded that when Jesus was born, people were looking out for someone special whom God was going to send, but they didn’t recognise that Jesus was the one.
We’re told that wise men saw the new star in the sky and went looking for a new king, but they looked in the wrong place because they assumed he’d be living in a palace. When Jesus grew up, people couldn’t believe that he was the promised one, because he’d grown up in Nazareth or because he didn’t do exactly what they wanted him to do. Perhaps they were all looking in the wrong place.
Of course, the people who did find Jesus and recognise him on the night he was born, were shepherds, whom nobody took much notice of; everybody thought they were at the back of the queue when it came to seeing what God was doing.
And what about us?
The promise of Christmas is that God is with us, but just like the people around Jesus when he was born and grown up, we might be looking in the wrong place, or expecting something different or just too busy to notice.
Let’s all take some time this Christmas to ask God to open our eyes and hearts to see and know that God is with us.
Have a very happy and blessed Christmas.