Since posting over two weeks ago, my straightforward plans leading upto Christmas have been entangled in a mess, as a virus wouldn't let go of me, and a mound of grading piled higher ,(evaluating each student sermon takes 2-3 hours!) Deadlines for an academic journal article suddenly loomed, and neat plans for a gentle run-up to Christmas were well and truly messed up.
But perhaps Christmas is not about neatness! BBC America News has been following the journey of Joseph and Mary, from Nazareth to Bethlehem these last few days. Plodding the 150k with a donkey has proved eventful. On Day 3, the journalist was already on donkey number 3 because of unforseen problems, and was encountering innumerable obstacles (like roadblocks) on the way. I said to Carol that these troubles actually do more justice to the first Christmas. As far as Joseph and Mary were concerned, could you have had a greater mess than needing to travel on the eve of pregnancy with no settled accommodation?
But the glorious message, out of the mess we live in, is that the Christchild is born to rescue and redeem in the profoundest ways possible. Oh yes!
So, way behind schedule, and a little harassed, I need to take a deep grateful breath. To try and post my last page from a preacher's prayer book this term, maybe work on another of the Big 7 for Christian Leaders (I hoped to finish this by now!) and anticipate authentic praise for God with us, Immanuel, for Christmas 2008.