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Friday , December 15, 2023

Panel depicting two angels in a scene from the Nativity; possibly from the Infancy of Christ window in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Glencairn Museum,

Isaiah 48:17-19
Psalm 1
Matthew 11:16-19

When reading today’s scripture passages, I saw a theme of God’s love for us.  So often we judge by outward appearances.  We are uncomfortable around people who seem different from us, those who do not follow accepted rules of behaviour, those who are disruptive during church worship services (particularly children), and those who follow different ways of living. Similarly, Matthew writes about how the Hebrew leaders felt threatened by Jesus because he did not follow the Sabbath rules and ate with people who were considered unclean.  Jesus was not born in a palace with all its pomp and ceremony, but was born in humble circumstances.  His birth was announced to very ordinary people — shepherds.  Yet kings, men of wisdom, travelled a long distance to see him, and Herod feared a threat to his own power. 

The Psalmist tells us that those who do not follow the righteous way will be punished. This is a very Old Testament way of looking at things.  Jesus, however, came to teach us that God’s way is of love.  God loves us unconditionally and expects us to love others regardless of their appearance or different way of living.  

“Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.”  
(Common Praise. 131)

In all the joy that Christmas brings let us not forget those whose way of life or appearance is different from ours.  May we be deeply grateful for God’s unconditional love.

Jean Gandon