Thither will I go said Light
That’s the most important journey, of course…the journey we are here to celebrate…the journey that makes all the difference to everything….
But St Luke’s account of the nativity is full of journeys.
Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem,
The angels come from heaven to the shepherds
The shepherds hurry to the manger.
It’s as if even at his birth Jesus is intent on stirring us up, on moving us out of our familiar ways, taking us out beyond our comfort zones.
Ironic, then, that we’ve transformed our celebrations of his birth into the epitome of traditions. We dream of Christmasses “just like the ones we used to know” and exclaim in distress if an “essential” carol somehow gets missed from the Midnight Service or too many features of our own ideal festivities are altered without permission.
Ironic because that baby is born to challenge and to change us…
The shepherds went on their journey – they saw the good news story with their own eyes – and then they had to go home and demonstrate that the baby’s birth really was good news for the whole world. Once the angels had stopped singing and gone on their way, the good news depended on them. Who would have believed their wild stories of a sky filled with angels if the events of that night had not changed the shepherds so that they began to live a new kind of life?
They turned from people who had been on the receiving end of good news, - who had heard it and seen it, - to people who were good news themselves.
And now we are invited on the same journey…called to travel even to Bethlehem
We’re not there just to see, marvel and return home to the status quo.
We go, just as we are, because we have no other option.
That‘s the only way that we can go.
No possibility of white-wash or self-deception here, since the Opne we go to visit is our God, our creator, a helpless baby swaddled against the night air.
But though we are all of us welcome as we are…we are called there to be changed.
There’s another journey to make…from self interest to love, from anger to peace, from despair to hope…
As we stoop to enter the stable, that cramped space that contains Someone greater than the world and all that is in it, we are invited to change….to offer our poverty, our inadequacy, our disappointment, our fear and to receive back riches, strength, comfort beyond all expectation.
We come as we are and are changed till we are as He is….
LIGHT looked down and beheld darkness.
‘Thither will I go,’ said Light.
Peace looked down and beheld war.
‘Thither will I go,’ said Peace.
Love looked down and beheld hate.
‘Thither will I go,’ said Love.
So light came, and shone.
So peace came, and gave rest.
So love came, and gave light.