We are all familiar with the figures in a nativity scene. Mary and Joseph, obediently accepting their part in God’s plan. The shepherds, encouraged by the angel to find the Messiah. The Magi, intrigued by a star announcing the birth of a king. In their midst a newly born baby. It is the presence of this baby that has brought them all together. As a matter of fact, the baby cannot do anything much other than to be present at this point.
In this presence, past and future converge. Prophecy turns into fulfilment. All the other people present in the scene have come with some kind of expectation regarding the future of the baby. In the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph is told that the baby will grow up to save his people from their sins. In the Gospel of Luke, Mary is told that the baby will grow up to reign on David’s throne forever. The shepherds are told that the Messiah has been born. The Magi are looking for a baby that will grow up to be the king of the Jews. So it is that all of them arrive at the lowly stable not only to welcome a newborn. They come with hope.
Christmas is only the beginning.