In Thessalonica, Paul and Silas were accused of turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6). It was, of course, their message that upset people, disturbing their customary ways. That’s what God’s action in and through Jesus does, and has done from the time of his birth in Bethlehem. God upsets the usual self-centredness of human life. Instead of choosing the rich, the proud and powerful to redeem humanity God used very ordinary people to bring about the most extraordinary deliverance. The poem known as Mary’s Song or The Magnificat tells us that God has brought low the proud and powerful and looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant Mary and also the lowliness of the nation Israel. Of all the tribes, peoples, nations and empires in the history of the human race, God chose to make his fullest, clearest revelation and to effect a fundamental transformation of what it means to be human through a small, politically insignificant people living in enemy occupied territory. God, in the birth of Jesus, turned the world upside down. The great aim in life is no longer to be the greatest, the wealthiest, the most powerful, the most beautiful or the most famous. The whole of the Christmas story emphasizes this: “There was no place for them in the inn”; it was to lowly shepherds that the announcement was made. It is God who is re-making the world. Humans get carried away with their own successes into thinking that they can fix everything, but God has set in motion a process by which all things will become new (Revelation 21:5). We are being called to live that transformation, to be part of what God initiated in the birth and life of Jesus. If you think that Christmas is a great upheaval each year, it’s nothing to the upheaval that the birth of Jesus means for human life in general.
- In what ways does Jesus turn the world upside down?
- What changes does he want to make in your life?
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:27-29. How does it relate to Luke 1:47-55?
- How should we best celebrate the birth of Jesus?