‘Jesus’ Advent wonder drafts

19 Dec

here are the first three pieces of my ‘Jesus’ drafts. the fourth will be published friday 20 december http://www.stewardship.org.uk/special-articles/advent-wonder


my first notes from weekend of 14 December ‘Jesus rewrite’


a new son

a new song

an unexpected king


Forgetfulness of soul and heart

Self forgetfulness draws u in

Sucks u in

Their song dives into your song


my first rewrite from notes above

Jesus, a baby wrapped for all

Luke 2:12

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. – King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition


Luke mentions the baby Jesus as being wrapped in ‘swaddling clothes’ or cloths, twice in five verses. (Verses 7 and 12, chapter) Mary was Luke’s primary source in this gospel narrative. These are a mother’s details; Mary would have made and placed the clothes on her baby. Swaddling clothes are not a sign of poverty. Religious parents wrapped their children with a prayerful future purpose. These clothes were narrow strips of fine linen about two inches wide. They were wrapped around a baby’s body after the child was gently washed with water very lightly salted; tight from head to foot. The salt symbolized qualities of truth and honesty: the prayer here is that the child would speak words salted with truth. The tight wrapping symbolised the parents’ prayerful desire that the child would grow straight, free from wayward choices and unrighteous life. Only the child’s face was left uncovered so they could breathe.


These clothes were left on the new born only a few days. They represent the parents’ desires for the child: a life of straight paths in word and deed.

But there is more here. For the sheepherders such wrapping in a manger must call to their minds how they would wrap new born lambs; for mothers such wrapping is an indicator of tender love: Mary made the linen clothes and washed and wrapped her child with her own loving hands. For us such clothes may foreshadow the strips of linen Peter sees when enters the empty tomb. (John 20:5) ‘He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.’


We can go into the manager this Advent, as a shepherd in wonder, as a mother with joy or as a people wrapped in his love: the love of a baby and a saviour. A baby who loves all. What a wonder to be wrapped in. As we approach Christmas and anticipate the excitement of present-giving let’s remember that we have already been given, a King who gave it all.


And, finally, the original piece I put aside (for now)

Strapline for image: Jesus – gives everything

Jesus is a shameless gift made shameful. How? The writer of Hebrews directs

‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ Hebrews 12:2

Two of the most important events of a person’s life are their birth and their death.  Advent leads us to Jesus’ birth but it also points us to his death. Each event connects to the other and the word that connects them is ‘shame’

Jesus was born in shame and died a shameful death on a cross.  He was born in shame so we can be born again without shame. He died a shameful death so we could be resurrected in eternal life. The shameless was made shameful so we can be embraced by infinite, indescribable love. This is the gift of Jesus, the most precious.

Jesus gives everything: embracing a world in need by making himself completely vulnerable. A baby, born in an animal shed, to a poor family, of an oppressed people, eventually refugees in a foreign country, Jesus chooses the most vulnerable of human forms to enter our world, and a position of absolute weakness. And though this would be a massive gift just by itself, it is insignificant in what Jesus did on the cross: ‘For he who had not known sin made himself sin in your place, that we would become the righteousness of God in him.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21-Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

He chooses to be in our place. Your place. My place. Why?

To invite us in, to be so near that we can not but recognize our need for a Saviour, for Him. That is when the gift becomes indescribable.

As he grows, he shares with us in the worst of human social ills; he then shares in the worst of the human condition – death and punishment for sin. He gave up his status as King of the Universe. He gave up his right to glory, comfort and praise. He subjected himself to those he created and hung on a cross. He, the giver of life, gave up his life. He, the Son of God, gave up his relationship with his Father. He suffered the death and punishment we deserved for our sin. It cost him everything and he did it because he loved all, with his all, unconditionally.

As we approach Christmas and anticipate the excitement of present-giving let’s remember that we have already been given the King who gave it all.

Reflect, how I can reflect this ‘indescribable gift?’ How might I be kind, generous and merciful with no guarantee of a ‘good response?’

Key Question: What’s the cost?


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