Christmas

On Christmas day we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. A small little child was born in Bethlehem. It could have been a day like any other but there was something special about that child. Not only that his mother was unmarried, people were also talking that she even was a virgin. How could that be? More than 2000 years ago a child was born under mysterious circumstances. Today – 2000 years later – we still remember! The birth of a little baby changed the world! This little child – born in the midst of nowhere unrecognised by the rich and famous of his days – should change the course of history. His impact in history literally changed the way we look at history. Even today his birth is so fundamentally important that we relate all events in history to his birth. No other person in history made such an impact.

Even though all the above is pretty impressive it is just a part of what we celebrate on Christmas day, and a rather small part I might add. As I prepare for Christmas what is much more important to me is what happens today. Christmas is not first of all a nostalgic event created for our economy to boost selling numbers but Christmas is very much about you and me and the way we relate to each other.

So why do we celebrate Christmas? God enters this world. The message of Christmas is the manifestation of a God who wants to be in touch with humankind, no, he wants to be in touch with every single human being, wants to be in touch with you and me. So even today Jesus is born into our world, not so much as a little baby but as a little light into our hearts. This way he is touching our very being, fulfilling our desires. This light enables us to become more and more aware of the dignity we have as His sons and daughters. This light shines forth so as we live our lives His divine light enters this world in the way we think about, act upon and love one another.

As we celebrate Christmas I hope you can find some time to become aware of this huge gift sent to you by an ever-loving God. Have a merry and blessed Christmas

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Prepare the way of the Lord

The prophet Isaiah is talking about preparing the way for the Lord, our God. “A voice cries out: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.” (Is 40:3-4)

 

It seems like nobody would listen, nobody would care, the voice ignored. How can we answer this voice’s call? Is it by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel? Could this voice eventually speak not only to Israel more than 2500 years ago? Could it actually speaking to us? Are we preparing the way of the Lord?

I personally do not believe timing behind Trump’s announcement was accidentally as we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ into our world at Christmas. I just think he and his advisers misinterpret Isaiah completely when they really think the new Jerusalem mentioned in the book of Revelation is this city in modern state Israel.

All of that leaves us with the question on how we actually read a text in the Bible. I personally believe that the Bible as a holy text inspired by the Holy Spirit is first of all timeless. So asking what the prophet actually meant by saying that might be of historic interest but theologically and much more spiritually useless. Of course there was a reason for that message of comfort and hope at the time of the Babylonian exile but this hope had nothing to do with Jesus or us today.

Mark starts his Gospel by quoting those verses and interprets them filled with the Holy Spirit: Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and Mark seems to have no idea how everything could ever turn out to be good. So he remembers those verses written at the time of the biggest struggle for the Jewish people – the Babylonian exile. He tries to understand that he is in a similar situation. His hope, his dream, everything he lived for smashed when Jesus was cruzified but nevertheless the soldier standing at his cross confesses “Truly, this is the Son of God!” when he sees Jesus die. After Jerusalem was destroyed once again his hopes and dreams seems to be destroyed. But the message of Jesus himself puts new hope in him. Could it be that Jerusalem (the city of peace and fullness) is not somewhere out there but much closer to ourselves? Could it be that Jesus – when he talks about Jerusalem – is not talking about the physical city with its buildings and the temple but about our heart?

Just think about it: Jesus wants to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem in three days but he is talking not about the physical temple on Zion but about his body as the temple where the Holy Spirit dwells. Why is it so difficult to understand that the Bible is not talking about the physical city of Jerusalem but about our soul, our heart where God will take home in the book of Revelation. So preparing the way of the Lord, giving him a landing place – if you wanna call it – does not mean something outside but deep within ourselves. Preparing the way of the Lord might eventually mean to prepare ourselves for Christ becoming man in our midst, not socially but individually – in our hearts and minds, in our soul. Welcoming Jesus in my world (my heart, my mind, my soul and my body) puts enormous joy in me, transforms the world into God’s kingdom so that all the people I meet will see that there is a joy, a love, a desire fulfilled in the way we meet people. So yes it does change the outside world but God entering this is always via the hearts, minds and actions by his believers.

 

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