‘Madonna & Child’, outside the Church of St. John and St. Martin, Schwabach, Germany. (Photograph by James Bloice Smith, 2015)

Christmas and Equality

Has it ever struck you, as the old joke goes, that Father Christmas is not politically correct because he gives better presents to rich kids. This is, of course, the opposite of the real Christmas story. If you want to understand why our law is based on the idea that all people are equal, then Christmas is a good place to start.

In the real story, God choses a poor carpenter’s family as the home for Jesus—not quite peasants, but not far from it. The mother of Jesus, Mary, quickly realises the political statement God had made by choosing her when she says:

‘He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.’

(The Bible, Luke 1:52-53 NIV)

She is well aware she is a ‘nobody’. She is not rich, she has no power, she lives in an occupied country, she probably had no education, and she was having a baby without being married. The point of the story is that everyone is equally precious to God. God could have chosen as the mother of Jesus a powerful and wealthy queen in a luxurious palace. Instead, God chooses a simple village girl, who is forced to give birth in a stable in a backwater of the Roman Empire.

Just to underline the message, God chooses a group of shepherds as the first witnesses of the event. At the time shepherds were despised. For one thing, they smelt of sheep and, in general, they were also accused of acquiring stuff that was not exactly theirs. True, a group of ‘wise men from the east’ also make an appearance some time later, but the first place they go looking is in the palace. They are amazed when they find ‘The Christ’, Jesus, in a poor, ordinary setting.

Whether or not you are religious, it is a matter of fact that the stories of Jesus have played a massive part in shaping our British (and European) culture and values. The birth of Jesus is not quite as ‘romantic’ as the pictures on our Christmas cards suggest, but much more important – we are all equal in God’s eyes, and that has become the law of our land.

(If you want to know more, see Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism, by Larry Siedentop, 2014)

Image: ‘Madonna & Child’ (Mary & Jesus), outside the Church of St. John and St. Martin, Schwabach, Germany.



Fantastic, Festive, Family Fun!

 

At Headington Baptist Church, Saturday 2nd of December, 6:30pm.

It’s mayhem in Bethlehem on the night before the first Christmas and everyone is busy, especially industrious innkeeper – Babs.

With a cast of three talented actors Babs of Bethlehem is a wonderful hybrid of the folktale Babushka and the classic Nativity story with a dash of Fawlty Towers thrown in! Can Babs (with the help of a traditional supporting cast of shepherds, wise men and angels) slow down long enough to find out what really matters this Christmas?

This LAMPS performance is designed to be engaging and fun for all ages (not just the kids), from 5-6 years upwards to somewhere around 100!

You can view some audience comments and taster snippets of past LAMPS productions on their website.

It has been designed with a running time of around 1 hour and 15 minutes there will be refreshments during the interval.

TICKETS

£10 adults; £5 under 17’s; Family ticket £25 (2 adults & 2 children)

Reserve by phone: 07999590394

Reserve online  Tickets  

OR buy at:

Headington Fairtrade Co-operative (Formerly known as ‘The WINDMILL’)
104 London Road
Headington
Oxford, OX3 9AJ

Enquiries: 07999590394




We’ve been going for over two years now and there’s lots going on. If you pop along on a Sunday evening you’ll find a relaxed gathering of 30-40, sometimes more. It’s a wonderful mixed gathering with people from Northway and surrounding areas and a strong international presence from Vietnam, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, the USA, Australia, Nigeria, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, to good ol’ Blighty and the Scottish climbs! We’re also blessed with young, old and the in-betweens.

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