Sunday 29 December 2013

How the Shepherd became a lamb...

Baa-bara's thoughts from the Christingle at Horton this Christmas

I'm really sorry we can't have a donkey this year. I've heard all about Ruth and how she comes to the Christingle to see us every year, but sadly this time she isn't well enough to come.

So I've brought along a little Lamb instead. Do you want to see? Here we are! I borrowed this lovely fluffy lamb from Bea. Trouble is, I can't remember the name. Do you want to help me choose a name, just for today's talk? Vote for one of these…
·         Baa-naby? Baa-tholomew? or for a girl lamb, Baa-bara? or Ewe-nice? How about Lamb-bert?

So just think of a little lamb, just like Baa-bara, out there on the hills one winter night, long ago, with those shepherds. Suddenly a bright light blazes from heaven and the angels appear and send the shepherds to go and find baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Did you know last year Elisa and I went to Bethlehem and visited the place where it was supposed to have happened? I even have some stones from that very field…

I think God had very special reasons for choosing shepherds to be the very first people to hear the good news that Jesus has come into the world. 
·         because they were ordinary: those shepherds were not celebrities, not kings or presidents, not fashion icons. They had no degree in theology, they were not particularly holy – they were very, very ordinary, down to earth people. You see, Jesus came for ordinary people. So you don't have to be Frank Lampard or Princess Ewe-genie or drive a Lamb-orghini for God to love you. He loves you already, just as you are.
·       and because God is a shepherd too - The Lord is my shepherd.

Now I like to think that when the shepherds heard the angels' message and went to see baby Jesus, they took a lamb just like Baa-bara with them, to see baby Jesus too. Because as well as being a shepherd, Jesus is also the Lamb of God.
·         It means he was an innocent baby and would continue to be without sin.
·         It means he came to redeem all creation, animals and nature as well as people
·         but much more than that, it means he would be sacrificed to take away our sins.

Now those sacrifices never worked! The people had to keep on doing them, day after day and year after year. But when Jesus the Lamb of God died for us on the cross, there was no need to sacrifice a lamb any more. So Jesus took the place of all those sacrifices, of all those little lambs just like Baa-bara, in the same way that he took our place when he dies for us on the Cross.

So that's the miracle of Christmas. The shepherd… also became a lamb.

Colin x x

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