As seems customary at this time of year, I’m going for a bit of a ‘Christmas’ theme with this entry. I’ve been really struck this year by how distant I feel from the whole affair – there’s so little left of the Christian festival now. Not that I’m complaining; I happen to think it a rather dull affair in comparison with Easter, any way.
That’s not to say it isn’t important. Christmas reminds us that God wants to redeem us from all of the evils in this world. He wants us to follow a way which leads to life, not death. Freedom, not slavery. God as sovereign, not Caesar.
It can feel at times like God isn’t sovereign, can’t it. It can feel like we are ruled over by the political classes. It can feel like we are ruled over by mobile phone providers, banks, supermarkets, Amazon, our emotions, our family life, our sins, our troubles, our job.
Yet, at Christmas, we remember that God is sovereign, not the powers of this world. We don’t have to recognise the powers of the world as the final authority. Jesus is King, not consumerism, not materialism, not the Prime Minister, not the President of the USA.
Jesus comes in amongst the powers of the world – not by force or might; not by politics or power – but as a simple boy born to a simple woman in the long line of cock ups, failures and embarrassments used by God to demonstrate that sometimes, He does things through the people you’d least expect.
It’s those people I want us to remember this Christmas. You might expect God to move in your charismatic service, or be touched by the sermon your outgoing, charismatic preacher gives. Or you might expect to find God in the quiet liturgy of the Sacrament.
So when you come across the stranger, the foreigner, the immigrant, the homeless man, the annoying old lady in the queue, the irritating relative – remember that Jesus uses the most unexpected people to do the most amazing things. And remember that whatever you do unto the ‘least of these’ (and some of these people may be by no means least in the eyes of the world), you do unto Jesus himself.
This Christmas, acknowledge Jesus Christ as King. And treat him like royalty when you find him.