by Rachael Stelzer
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She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them (Luke 2:7).
The people of Israel were marginalised. Oppressed. Conquered. Invaded. Rome had spread its Pax Romana across the known world through military might and acts of war.
At the start of this passage, we hear of Caesar Augustus and the governor Quirinius. We are told of their census, designed to count and tax all conquered lands. Society is quantified and controlled through this act, and there is stability and peace. Of sorts.
But then a tiny baby is born to a teenage Israelite girl who has travelled away from home. A heavenly sound and light show explodes on a hillside, witnessed only by the most marginalised members of society. An angel reports ‘good news of great joy for all the people’, with echoes of the birth announcements of the Caesars themselves, to a bunch of stinky shepherds. And they go to see for themselves and tell everyone they can find.
And nothing will ever be the same.
In this birth, in this arrival, God is with us. The God who has raised the humble but cast down the mighty. This God who has set the Prince of Peace on the throne of victory. This God whose wisdom comes mingled with childlike wonder and delight. This is the God we serve. This is the God who loves us with an everlasting love. Praise and glory be to our Prince of Peace!
Jesus, our infant king, we adore and thank you for your incredible love. You are God with us. Help us know your love and companionship this Christmas season. And help us to share it with others. Amen.