Thought for the Week – 24th December 2023
The Bethlehem Crib Scene
Christmas would not be Christmas, at least in a church, without a crib scene with the baby Jesus in the manager. Billingsley now has three cribs, albeit one lacking Jesus. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem has created a very topical crib scene in their church this year; the baby Jesus rests on the rubble of a destroyed building, reflecting the situation in Gaza. In this scene, Mary and Joseph are not next to Jesus, neither are the shepherds and wise men. Apparently they are outside the ruins, apparently desperately seeking Jesus to see if he has survived the devastation. It is a powerful scene, speaking of the reality of life in a war zone, be it Gaza, Israel, Ukraine or countless other places where there is conflict. But as I reflect on what it shows, I find myself wondering who are the rescuers and who is being rescued? Is it that Mary, Joseph and the rest are the ones seeking the Christ child so they can be helped and healed? The day before I wrote this, I was moved by words of one of the chaplains to Aston University where I work; that a Jesus who only comes to those who are safe and happy is of no use to anyone. God came at Christmas in frail and vulnerable form to be with all and to save all.
Rev David Poyner