One of my favourite Christmas greetings this season came to me in a card from Katherine & Alistair MacDonald and the staff at Munro and Morris Funeral Home. It said,
Blessed be the season,
which engages the whole world
in a conspiracy of love.
Blessed indeed! As we encounter the bad news broadcast in the media, or troubling or sad news from family and friends, the Christmas themes of hope, peace, joy and love can seem a little beyond our reach. A conspiracy of love, however, acknowledges the troubles, and says that something else is possible, and that we are not alone in conspiring to be part of a love that engages the whole world.
The gospels all begin by broadcasting GOOD news. Mark launches right into Jesus' ministry, with no nativity story, just one pithy phrase, "The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Matthew and Luke elaborate on how it is that Jesus is the Son of God, including virgin birth stories, angel visitations and genealogies. Matthew tells us that wise men from the East came to Jesus' house and offered him gifts. Luke tells us that Jesus was born in a stable, and that shepherds came to visit him there. The Gospel of John has no nativity stories. He goes for a larger metaphor, describing Jesus as the Word - the impulse through which all things came into being - and as life and light that shines in the darkness. Four authors, trying to say that something profound has happened which affects the whole world:
- an impulse from the beginning of time,
- a Son of God who is not like the ruthless emperors and kings of the time,
- one in human form who would bring awareness of the presence of God to the wisest and the lowliest
- a vision of God's kingdom of peace, joy, love and hope that requires, as always, nurturing by individuals and communities, just as the vulnerable infant Jesus needed parents and community to nurture him.
This season, may you be caught up in the Christmas story, and find yourself being part of the conspiracy of love that engages the whole world.