Somewhere in Bethlehem a child is born. As with most births the parents had visitors, people come to see the miracle of a new life. Matthew says that wise men came from far-off lands, Luke tells us that shepherds came. They brought gifts to the child – the wealthy wise men brought gold and perfumes; the poor shepherds probably bought nothing more than their interest and curiosity.
The story goes that, as they laid their gifts before this child, they realised that they too were receiving a gift. A mysterious, joyful gift from God. For that’s what this child was. A gift from God big enough to be shared by all who came to visit – by the shepherds and the wise men in their day; by all of us here and now. A gift of unqualified love.
This Christmas Day we will give and receive gifts. Large or small, numerous or few, expensive or not, is beside the point. All these gifts are shadows, symbols of that first gift from God to us. For in the gift of the life of this child Jesus, God engaged with human history in a new way. God showed that he loves us, that he is with us – always.