This year during the Christmas season my services and preaching will be looking beyond the hype to focus towards the cross. My son said I was confused talking about Easter at Christmas time! Yet there is a danger if we don’t give our services a bit of body then they become nothing more than a Starbucks coffee that doesn’t go beyond the initial froth! To that end I was reminded of this image I shot whilst walking the path of the pilgrims in Northern Spain. It isn’t the best quality shot I will ever take, but the subject matter struck me on my journey to Santiago. Mary holds baby Jesus whilst both hang on a cross, leaving the onlooker with a disturbed impression. No donkey, shepherd or Magi in this image but it eloquently portrays the reality of God incarnate.
How easy it is to skirt over certain parts of the Christmas story to make it palatable to our ears. The contrast can be found in the poem, “Innocent’s Song” by Charles Causley which shares the reality that some suffered greatly at the birth of Jesus through the jealous hands of Herod. I will be using this challenging poem in my carol services this year.
Perhaps the poem and the “Cross of Mary” will help me balance Christmas better and offer a message that lasts longer than a Starbucks coffee!