This is our Christmas invitation video. Thanks to the Episcopal Church for the footage and voice overlay. The video is somewhat long at 3:20 minutes but it has a vital message. As the carpenter builds a manger, we use the message about Jesus to also build – a better world.
Our Christmas Eve service Dec. 24, 4pm St. Peter’s 823 Water Street, Port Royal, Virginia or on the web
The basis of the video is Luke’s Christmas story from Luke 2. Luke is writing about the true “savior of the world,” one from the line of the great King David. He looks to Bethlehem, the city of David, and not to Rome, the city of Caesar.
The birth is announced to shepherds in the field, and not to the powerful in rich palaces. The scandal of the virgin birth is not so much that Mary was a virgin. The scandal was that Jesus–a poor kid from a backwater town–was born of a virgin.
The word savior appears only three times -Luke 1, Luke 2, and John 4. It was a politically charged term since the Roman Caesar Augustus was known as “the savior of the world.” He had brought peace to the world, the pax Augusta and in gratitude people celebrated his birthday and remembered the gift of peace received in and through him.
Jesus’ peace is not the same as the peace brought about by Caesar Augustus. It has more in common with the quality of life envisioned in the Hebrew word, shalom, (be whole, be complete). In Luke’s scriptures this word meant not merely the end of hostilities, but rather the well-being that comes from God
Throughout his gospel Luke tells the story of the work that helped earn for Jesus the title “Savior.” In a world where Samaritans were despised he showed Jesus telling stories in gratitude to God. In a society which treated women as second class citizens he showed Jesus welcoming them into his fellowship, along with the disciple, and taking them with him on his travels through the cities and villages of Galilee. In a religious community that excluded sinners, he showed Jesus eating and drinking with them, telling stories accenting God’s care for them, and extending his hospitality and best wishes to them. The Jesus of Luke’s gospel was one who broke through the barriers of nationalism, sexism, and religious chauvinism, who awakened repentance, set people free, who opened communities and brought in peace. Indeed, as Luke stated, he was One who had come “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
The shepherds share what they have learned about Jesus. Already, we get signs of the mutuality and reciprocity of the kingdom of God. The shepherds share with each other, and with Joseph and Mary. The words of the shepherds stir “all” who hear them. They return praising God.
That’s the savior we welcome this Christmas.