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Well, it’s almost over; the business of Christmas. Some of us will have dusted off the decorations and packed them away in the loft. The tree, by now looking a little sad, has or will be been sawn up and recycled. The crib figures are all wrapped up and put away until next year. Now all we have to survive January, usually the coldest month, maybe planning a holiday for when the weather improves.

 

Do you ever wonder what happened in the life of the real baby Jesus after all the excitement and the shepherds had gone back to their sheep? The census was over. Presumably Mary and Joseph could have gone back to Nazareth. Yet we know that they stayed put in Bethlehem, because they took Jesus to the Temple eight days after his birth, and they were still in Bethlehem two years later when the wise men came calling. Perhaps they rented somewhere while they worked out their future. It may have been difficult to go back to Nazareth, seeing that they were not yet married and had a small baby, something not to be tolerated two thousand years ago. Perhaps better to stay hidden.

 

Yet January is the season of Epiphany, which means “showing”. It is a time when Jesus is revealed. At the Temple, aged eight days, he is acclaimed by Simeon as “a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of your people, Israel” (Luke 2v32), and greeted by the elderly prophetess, Anna, who then went round witnessing as to this child was. Both these folk had spent many years longing for the Messiah to come.

 

As a toddler of two, he received strange gifts from travellers who had come many miles to worship him. He was then forced into exile in Egypt with his parents, chased out by a brutal tyrant. Even at that age, God was powerfully protecting him from harm, because he had been born for a particular purpose, which would become clearer about thirty years later on a cross.

 

We’ve spent weeks, the Advent Season, waiting, getting ready, looking forward to Christmas, and now it’s all over – or is it? We were getting ready for an event which has now happened, and it has changed everything. We have celebrated the arrival of our Messiah, our Saviour, and now comes the time to reveal him to anyone who will listen. Jesus is not just for Christmas, he is for life! He did not stay a sweet little baby, but grew into a dynamic and controversial man who came to restore our broken relationship with God, to tell of God’s love for all mankind. That is something worth revealing to the world.

 

May the blessing of Christmas be with you throughout the New Year.