Well, I just got back from London this weekend, and had a fantastic time. I went to meet with some friends, some business colleagues, and then I was invited to one of the most incredible Christmas services I’ve been to in a long time. It was at London’s Central Methodist Hall.
And if you can imagine 2000 people all gathered in this one Sanctuary….
Led by the world famous Noel Tredinnick and the All Souls Choir, we were in for a treat! They started with an orchestral selection of West Side Story, sand O Little Town of Bethlehem, played the superman theme during intermission, and ended with the most brilliant Hark the Harold Angels Sing. It was unbelievable. “Very British” as my English friend described it.
But, one of the coolest moments of the evening was when the pastor of All Souls Church came to the microphone and started describing Christmas as it really was!
So often we get in the habit of romanticizing something of a manger, when it was probably just a dirty, foul smelling, feeding trough.
We see the nativity scenes, and Mary looks almost heavenly, when those of us who have children know what goes on in the birthing rooms of today’s most technologically sound hospitals.
The wise men bowing with gifts.
The Shepherds rushing to Jesus’ side.
The whole image draped with the Hallelujah chorus……
Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all, you know I don’t like to dwell much in the romantic. I’m pretty much a down home, let’s call it like we see it, kind of guy.
The manger scene was dirty….on purpose.
The animals were Jesus’ congregation upon arrival…on purpose.
The pain of a single mother having a child …..was no accident.
This was the most controversial birth ever recounted, at least for a King.
And, isn’t it wonderful, that God chose to come to earth in the form of an illegitimate child, born in a smelly barn, hidden from the world?
God knows the roots of pain.
He was born into the throngs of poverty.
He was the man who stood before His own people as they rejected Him.
All so this God, the God who created all we see, could relate to you and me.
The power of the Christmas story isn’t about warm white lights around a Christmas tree.
The power of Christmas is that God came near to us.
I worshiped with the British Saturday night, and was moved by the honesty they call the events of Christmas. I hope we don’t fall prey to the world’s continual changelings. For unto us a Saviour is Born, He is Christ the Lord.