Our Christmas has started quite strangely. After our recent house move and whilst being mid extension none of the family have had the energy to dig out our christmas decorations. The decs are buried at the back of two loft fulls of stuff. With the house looking bare I have treated myself to a new little wooden nativity set (photo’d and edited for this blog image)
Amongst our busyness I have been making time to help a dear friend. Another friend said to me “Gosh, you are going the extra mile” In that moment it dawned on me this is what Christmas is. You see the sweet baby we celebrate being laid in a manger grew to be man. It was the man Jesus who coined the phrase ‘go the extra mile’. Jesus’ people were oppressed by the Romans who occupied their land. A Roman soldier could demand a Jew carry his kit for a mile. Jesus taught that if that happened his followers should offer to carry it a second mile. That didn’t make sense. What Jesus did and taught was counter cultural. He made time for children, he honored women, he mixed with tax collectors and Samaritans. He taught that to be great you must be a servant, that we should care for the poor, sick and imprisoned. He said ‘it is more blessed to give than receive’.
All of these teachings may seem very meek but they are ultimately powerful and Jesus was so much more than mild. When traders were exploiting worshipers in the temple he made a vicious whip and drove them out. He did not mince his words for the murderous Herod or hold back his witty insults for the pious self righteous pharisees.
At Christmas as we celebrate I am glad to be a Christ follower. Sometimes I may go a bit off track but my intention is to follow as well as possible. It’s a way of life I highly recommend. And, it really is more blessed to give than receive!