As we approach Christmas, our thoughts naturally turn to the ones we love. Family, friends, & neighbours all feature in our minds as we write our Christmas cards, buy gifts and wrap presents.
But there is so much more to the Christmas story.
There is politics, military occupation, rough-sleeping shepherds, migrant foreigners, and in the end, a family of refugees forced to become asylum seekers. Not quite the snowy scene of a Christmas card.
And there is plenty of prejudice, injustice, abuse of power, and vulnerability to go around.
Yet Christ came to challenge all these things. In his birth, he challenges all our pre-conceptions about who is, and is not important in God's eyes. In those who responded to the call to worship the baby , God challenges our attitudes to wanderers, foreigners and those of other faiths. In the actions of the powerful, God shows us the futility of earthly power and authority.
In Christ's birth, he challenges us to a new way of looking at the world where everyone is valued, and all have a part in God's plan, irrespective of the prejudices of others.
So who will we have in mind as we hear the Christmas story this year? People like us, or people very different to us? Whoever they may be.