We have spoken a lot about disruption over the last months. But this is the holy night, the night of all disruptions that Governments and the powers of this world could not hold back.
This is the birth of one who is destined to thwart the ambition of human selfishness and intervene in our world in a way intended to remind humanity that though our flourishing is part of God’s hope; it is not a flourishing that can be carried out at any cost or to the detriment of the rest of creation.
For God is born amongst cattle and animals in the manger to remind us to think again about power, and authority, and to look again at the sanctity of all life and the importance of those who are vulnerable in our world. To look towards each other and see in the person sitting next to you, the image of God and to recall that all humanity created in this image has an innate and intrinsic value to be universally recognized and cared for.
The backdrop to the birth of Jesus is poverty, exclusion, rejection and it all happens against an ever emerging darkness in the world.
St John’s Gospel reminds us “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it”. That the birth of Jesus from those very first moments until his crucifixion and death will not be overwhelmed but will be a life worked out to challenge the shadows of this world, to challenge the unjust authorities and the unfairness which dictates the fate, the life chances and contentment of another human being.
God will not let us be subject to injustice in our life, nor suffering in death. For the birth of this child determined even before creation, was to be the truest revelation of love: to challenge the nature of our freedom. Not to control us, but to ask Why? Why if you are free, would you wish to overwhelm and destroy things which are good? This holy night reminds us that humanity in its greatness and awesome potential, simply has lost its way, and part of that has been to turn away God. So this birth which we celebrate inspires words such as these:
Truly he taught us to love one another;
His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother (sister)
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
For the birth of the Christ Child asks us, what is the world like for those who are vulnerable and rejected? And why in a world which has been created to flourish and bring joy, is creation failing?
This holy night is a night of disruption, not control, and a night of uncomfortable questions. The birth of the Christ Child asks us to reorientate our vision to the vulnerable and to the injustices in our world and not to be ignorant. To reorientate our gaze to see the world through the eyes of God, the gaze of Love which is the hope of all people.