24th December 2021
I read an article last week, for advent, asking the question: “Does the bible really claim that Mary was a virgin?” and after reading the article I read the comments.
Never. Read. The. Comments.
It wasn’t long before cries of “heretic” and “false teacher were being slung across the data stream. The conversation moved from the virgin birth to Original Sin, the divinity of Jesus, the reformation and even touched on salvation. And at each point declarations were made of who was in and who was out and what things you must believe to “be a Christian” to “be saved” to be “a bible believer” to “really know Jesus”
We do like to overcomplicate things with our rules and religions don’t we.
This Christmas you might not believe in the Virgin Birth, or, like me you might be happy to accept that we just don’t know and it doesn’t really matter that much anyway.
You might not believe in the resurrection
You might not believe Jesus was divine, or even that he existed in the first place.
You might believe there is no God.
You might believe that if there is a God he’s not contained within the pages of the bible.
You might believe that Jesus was a prophet, or a great teacher but not the Messiah.
You might believe that there are several Gods
You might believe that Christmas is a stolen festival and that the pagans were closer to the truth.
You might believe in magic, but not miracles.
Or miracles but not magic
You might admire Jesus but believe his followers are assholes
You might believe religion is an emotional crutch, or a source of evil.
You might believe Christmas is about friends and family and love and the whole religion thing is just a nice tradition a superstition or sentimentality.
You might have lost your beliefs or gained new ones.
You might just have some doubts
Or some questions.
You might not even know what you believe.
It doesn’t matter.
There is room for you at the manger.
There are no requirements. You don’t have to believe, know, understand or do anything.
You are welcomed
You are loved.
You are accepted.
The baby in the manger, the King and creator of all that ever was and all that ever will be. He doesn’t belong to anyone.
Nobody has the right to try to close the stable door.
It is open, and just like the Shepherds were, just like the Magi were, you are welcome and you are wanted. Whoever you are, whatever you believe.
So come in. Bring your doubts, your disbelief, even your disgust and your anger. Bring your fears and frustrations and questions. Bring your hurts, your pain, the things you find unappealing and unloveable. Bring it all, there’s room for all of you.
You are welcome at the manger.