By the Charcoal Fire...

By the Charcoal Fire...

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The First Christmas Card

So hands up - who’s up for a trip to Dublin?
I was thinking we’d set off this afternoon – no point hanging around –
it’s only 100 miles so how about we walk?
If we do 10 miles day, we’ll be there by Wednesday week.
Not sure where we’ll stay at night but sure we’ll worry about that on the way.
It’ll be a bit dangerous but don’t worry about being robbed – we won’t be carrying much money.
Oh and one last thing – we’ll be pregnant. All of us. Even the men.
So who’s with me?

A crazy idea isn’t it?
But young Mary from Nazareth did just that. Luke tells us in our Gospel this morning that “Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah.” One sentence that says little but implies a lot. The town was probably a little village called Ein Karem. It’s about the same distance from Nazareth as Magherafelt is from Dublin. About 100 miles. Mary travelled that journey. 

We can’t be sure why Mary sped off to see her cousin.
But we do know what the result is.
When Mary arrives at Elizabeth’s house, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb,
the future John the Baptist, leaps for joy.
In a very real sense, the Virgin Mary becomes the very first Christmas card!
Like a true Christmas card,
she brings news of great joy – we are not alone – God is truly with us!

Now thankfully we’re not asked to make an arduous journey of a 100 miles
to bring joy to others.
But also thankfully we do have that opportunity every minute of every day.

·        Like Mary to Elizabeth, do we honour others with a visit that leaves them joyful?

·        Like Mary to Elizabeth, are we willing to go that extra mile, if not that extra 100 miles, to visit someone who needs some joy in their lives?

·        Like Mary to Elizabeth, can we put our own comfort aside and set out as quickly as we can to help another, without even being asked?

As we speed towards Christmas Day, the feast day of our salvation,
perhaps now is the time to remember that

·        Like Mary, we too are called to bring joy to the lives of others

·        Like Elizabeth, we too are invited to open our doors to those in need

·        Like John the Baptist, we too are born to announce the coming of the Lord

Let’s all take time in these busy days to, like Mary,
bring the Jesus within us to some friend or relative
who just needs to see our smiling face
and let’s share some joy with each other.

Maybe the greatest gift we can bring others this Christmas is not a present for them but simply our presence with them.

Be a Christmas card for someone!

Be a present for them!

Image of giftwrapped present:
Image of Joy card:
Image of Dublin sign:

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