You wouldn’t exactly be right in saying that Jesus was born into obscurity. Not when there was a star over Bethlehem to alert those in the know to his identity and location. Not when hordes of angels showed up to trumpet the event. Mary had shepherds barging in to have a look at the infant Savior, for goodness sake!
No, it wasn’t really a private arrival.
But it wasn’t exactly a public one either.
Jesus’ birth and his identity were not common knowledge in the Empire. Not in Israel. Not in Bethlehem. Not even in his extended family. No one was doing any PR work for him, and Joseph didn’t have to excuse himself from the manger to go take questions at the press event.
Shepherds came from the fields, it’s true. But there’s no indication that neighbors bothered to come from next door.
Not public. Not private. But it was personal.
We are all, to one degree or another, “public figures.” We have all, at one time or another, performed for an “imaginary audience.” We are unrelentingly conscious of the fact that others perceive us, even if we are left to guess about how they perceive us.
Jesus, the Light of the World, is not a private figure, inaccessible and highly curated. Nor is Jesus, the Son of God, a public figure. He does not belong to us, even if he was happy to be counted as one of us.
But he is personal.
Prayer: Lord, help me resist the impulse to put you in human categories. And thank you for relating to me personally despite any of the various categories to which I belong.
Song: “The Light Came Down” by Josh Garrels. I promise, we’ll have some traditional Christmas songs to enjoy and reflect on as we go on, but I have to share another original song from a contemporary artist.
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog