This week we speak about the birth of Jesus. In the first week of Advent we quoted as Isaiah 9:6 and this week we go back to what the prophet said 800 years before Jesus' birth. In Isaiah 9:6 we read, "For to us a child is born. To us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called wonderful counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father Prince of Peace. In Matthew 1:21, we read of an angel speaking to Joseph, and this is what he had to say to Joseph: "She will give birth to a son, and you will give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
During Christmas, we do not only celebrate the birth of Jesus. But we remember this is part of a bigger story which includes his death and Resurrection. It's part of the same story. All three acts when needed for this to become the best news ever for mankind. In his birth, we see God becoming man; the Son of God becoming the son of man. The Incorruptible visiting the corruptible, Immortal moving in with the mortal. Why? So that the sons and the daughters of man could become the sons and the daughters of God! And he could become their father.
He also showed us how to live. And he revealed the father's character to us. He turned everything upside down. The shepherd boys became the VIPs at announcement of his birth by angels from heaven! For a moment, just imagine what that might have looked like. God chose these simple, un-educated shepherds to witness this incredible display.
Soon after that we see this gift from Heaven become a refugee in Africa. Through him the message became clear. "No one is excluded! There's Hope for all! His Mercy is bigger than our mess!" What can be a better narrative than this good news, for all of us, especially for those in our society who are broken, vulnerable and excluded.
There is hope for all of us and there's a place for all of us. May the spirit that Jesus brought to us, also be in us as we reach out to others around us - close and far. Once we understand and embrace is good news, we become prisoners of hope. We choose to move into other people's lives and to bring hope and good news.
From Africa and Hands at Work, I want to thank each and every one of you who prayed for and supported Hands in 2018. You made a huge impact. And one by one we all receive life as we reach out to others. May your Christmas with your family and your friends be a wonderful, peaceful and generous time together.