Saturday, August 08, 2015

Carol Service Sermon: A Biblical Nativity Scene (introduction)

Do you have a nativity scene at home?

Or perhaps you've seen one when you're out and about?

Or on a Christmas card?

Who and what is in it?

What ought to be in it?

Whose been smuggled in who doesn't belong there?

And whose been missed out?

Today I want us to think about Herod's soldiers. They weren't there at Jesus' birth, but then neither were the Wise Men and they're often in the nativity scene. In fact, the soldiers only arrived later, perhaps up to 2 years after Jesus was born. And by the time they got there, the Holy Family had already sarpered. But wicked king Herod and his hired thugs are the essential background to this story. And they'll appear in it again. Oh, it'll be a different Herod and different soldiers, no doubt, but they're going to be at the heart of the climax of this story. Pilate the Roman Governor will be behind them and the Emperor behind them.

And what is the sound that echoes around the empty stable? It is weeping. Inconsolable weeping. Unending broken sobs.

That is the nativity scene.

(I owe the idea of Herod's soldiers at the nativity scene to Douglas Wilson's Rule for Reformers, though he adds that it's something he's fond of saying!)

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