Czestochowska Black Madonna ImageSo What?

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the birth of Jesus is just how commonplace it is.

One might imagine that God would want His special one to be born in a palace, and have it announced by the religious leaders in the Temple.

Instead Jesus is born in a stable into a working class family. Yes, there are angels but they sing to shepherds, some of the most unimportant people in Israel, the religious leaders are not even told about it. Some wise men from another country, who have noticed a star that they follow, visit the new born Jesus.

The birth of Jesus is a challenge to everyone

Lots of babies are born every day (around 350,000 worldwide I understand) so why should we bother with one child born in Palestine so many years ago? What is it that makes this one child so remarkable? What is it about this seeming nobody born in a small corner of the Roman Empire that is so remarkable?

We bother because Jesus might just be the one to answer the biggest questions of life and existence. It might just be that somehow this one child has an insite into life and the universe that no one else has. It could just be that discovering Jesus is the single most important thing that anyone can ever do.

The poet John Betjeman puts the challenge to us well in the last part of his poem 'Christmas' he writes:

And is it true? and is it true?
The most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
A Baby in an ox’s stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?

And is it true? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant.

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was Man in Palestine
And lives to-day in Bread and Wine.

— John Betjeman (1906 - 1984)