Is it not wonderful, a gift from God that we can rejoice, with wonder and delight at the birth of Jesus with fresh awe every year.
We rejoice with the birth of every baby that is part of our family but the extra importance of a baby who is going to change to world, radically, a baby who is going to get a small band of blokes together and start a movement which is now the biggest movement in the world. Some more than 2.2 billion followers and growing rapidly every day.
Scripture tells us all creation will worship Jesus and we have plenty of prophesy which has eventuated already , so we can trust that every knee will bend, head bow and tongue confess Jesus to be Lord to the glory of God. And that is on earth, in heaven and under the earth, and as psalm 96 tells us, all creation rejoices in the Lord who brings justice and peace .
Little wonder that this is the biggest party in the world .
It is with something of a touch of jealousy that we hear of the shepherds tending their sheep being visited by an angel who allays their fears, then tells them of the birth of the savior of the world in Bethlehem, close by. Can we imagine their awe, how often did they pinch themselves. But to have that episode followed by a heavenly host saying Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth ,peace among those whom he favours.
More pinching no doubt. Maybe a cup of very strongtea, and the decision, lets go to Bethlehem and see this thing and we know of their visit, paying homage to the son of God born in a stable.
It seems so long ago, so far away, this miracle that changed the world, and these three humble men got to witness this event.
Why does the sky not light up f with angels and heavenly host singing the Gloria now.
Are we left out, I don’t think so, most of us have had some sort of heavenly interaction, and many mahy such. it maybe visions, a direct word from God, dreams which only make sense that they are messages from God, the gentle nudging to ring someone, the calling to make major steps in our lives, every answered prayer.
(We have heard some of those interactions today)
We read in the bible of the miracles of Jesus during his ministry as well as some of the significant events of his growing up we don’t need a heavenly host to wake us up with the Gloria every day, we have the whole story written out in the bible. And the miracle is contunuing to unfold before our eyes every day.
In recent decades, Russia and China have opened up to Christianity, East Germany likewise. There is something of a lull in Australia and many Western countries but judging by the initiatives bishop Richard is putting into place, Tasmania will be firing up again in the near future. Every interaction we have with God is our share of the shepherds delight,
We do not have to wait till Christmas day to rejoice because each time we feel at one with God in prayer, worship through a word or answered prayer, God is appearing to us as surely as the angel who spoke to the shepherds.
Whilst we can wait and hope for God to give us a sign, to send an angel, or give us a mouintain top experience to be spoon fed us in the affirmation and encouragement of our faith, or we can be pro active and work towards having such an experience.
Our Bishop is encouraging us to learn more, to train more and to do more.
We are looking forward to working through the product of the discipling day workshop and will as relaying more of the complementary information from the Clergy Conference along with some of the principles of the 3dm workshop some of us attended recently.
You will all also have your own bible reading and other learning activities so it is to be hoped that we will be becoming ever more open to the kind of communication from God which is the modern day equivalent of a Gabriel type visit.
The world is very much in a state where the knowledge that through Jesus reign, the boots and every garment of war will be gathered and destroyed by fire.
Since the first Iraq war the tensions have been building in the world.
Whilst I have no doubt that there will be much effort to convey the message of peace through Jesus in the days ahead.
Especially at Christmas time but also during every day of the year we have the pleasurable task and responsibility to be as people dividing the plunder, of those who are reaping the abundant harvest, of enjoying the fruits of the Kingdom of God.
As well as enjoying those spoils of the kingdom for ourselves, we continue to shaare Emmanuel, God with us with the world about us and help the world to know that, Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate who has paid the price to bring this promised kingdom to universal reality.
So may God bless us and our families and loved ones and keep us safe and well to continue serving God and his people in the years ahead.