Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reality Check!

Most of Britain is shivering in the snow and ice.  Unlike previous years there is almost no doubt at all that this will be a white Christmas, at least in some part of the British Isles.  For us here in the Channel Islands it is very rare to get snow at all let alone before Christmas.  The salt air and southerly position usually keeps us clear of all that, but this time we are included in this mega-dump of frosty forces!  BRRR!  Another unusual thing for post-modern Britain is the portrayal on the main television channel BBC One of the events of the Nativity.  It has been beautifully shot in believable scenery and involves not just mainstream actors but is also written by Tony Jordan, a former lead writer on Eastenders, and is being transmitted at peak viewing times.  For a generation of largely biblically illiterate children and young people as well as adults this may turn out to be a real taste of the original story and its impact on the lives of those who took part.

The third and most moving episode showed the rejection that Mary faced when she chose to accept God's message and receive the implanted Son of God into her womb, and even more significantly into her life.  'I am the Lord's servant' Mary said 'may it be to me as you have said'.  From that moment she faced the hostility of all within her community, to the point of being threatened with stoning (in the televised version).  Most difficult of all would be the response of her parents who believed her to be pure and devout and would never receive the comfort of the angelic visitor in a dream that Joseph was to see.  He too, is portrayed as facing a great dilemma when his betrothed young wife to be became pregnant despite their own resolve to remain virgins before marriage.  Mary found herself out in the cold.  The stark reality check of choosing to obey God's will and go God's way came as a cold dose of frightening price-paying.

What a wonderful example she set us!  How much she deserves our admiration?  More than that, her difficult choice with its cost and pain has brought so much into our world, our lives and our eternity.  Without her willingness to obey God we would still be in our sins without hope and without God in the world.  Thank you Mary, and thank you Lord for breaking into our frozen wilderness with your love and your saving power.  And thank you too BBC One for bringing it to our screens.