It’s that time of year again. My heart leaps and beats faster as I remember watching my first nativity play- watching my “big sister” enter stage as one of the Magi, singing “We Three Kings of Orient Are.” Yet, the older I get, when I return to Matthew I draw a deeper, darker and more challenging message from the undercurrent contained within his gospel narrative.

Jesus’ Mother Mary being pledged in marriage to Joseph. Joseph being a righteous man not wanting to expose her to public disgrace, having in mind to divorce her quietly and informally.

Then, a series of dreams- of Joseph, to take Mary home as his wife; of the Magi, to return home by a different route so as to avoid Herod; of Joseph, to flee with Mary and child into Egypt; of Joseph to return his family to Israel.

The horror and social outrage of murder by Herod of boys under the age of two years.

Matthew describes actions that cut across societal and cultural norms. Challenging complacency.

My dream is that we can cut across the societal and cultural norms of our times. Inclusion for all: “Let anyone who is thirsty come; let anyone who desires take the water of life without price…Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22)

What is your dream as we look again to the birth of our Lord and Saviour?

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