Or rather “The Manger Gift Hypothesis”: What do you See? How do you respond?
This is my go-to Christmas message for new groups of people...
I love Christmas.
The excitement has been building, the traditions are all rolled out of the box, and it’s time for us to watch those classic seasonal films and eat the food that we only ever consider at Christmas... I mean, when else can you justify watching the Muppets Christmas Carol and eating turkey and brussel sprouts (neither of which any of us really like if we’re being honest...)!
And then there are the Christmas specials that come on the TV, both the classics that we’ve loved and watched for years, and the latest seasonal offering produced by our current favourite shows.
My favourite all-time Christmas episode of a TV series has to be, without a shadow of a doubt the Christmas episode of the Big Bang Theory, Episode 11 from Season 2.
For those who are unfamiliar with the show and the characters, the story revolves around a group of geeky male scientists (well, 3 scientists and an engineer) who are ridiculously intelligent yet socially clueless and inept, and their socially gifted yet intellectually inferior female friend Penny. Invariably the episodes revolve around Penny trying to impart useful social practices and common sense to one of more of the men who just don’t get it.
Sheldon is the most socially inept of the 4 friends, and in this clip he is struggling with the concept of gift-giving.
In this episode, titled “The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis”, Penny tells Sheldon that she has a gift for him for Christmas and Sheldon, though he despises the concept of giving and receiving gifts, knows that the right thing to do is reciprocate the gift with something of equal value, but how does he do that when he doesn’t know what the gift is? And so, he comes up with the “Bath Item Gift Hypothesis,” which is explained, and undone, during this clip.
One last thing you should probably know before we watch: Sheldon doesn’t do physical contact.
The immortal words of Tiny Tim seem to be the best way to sum up this week's reflection on the Christmas story.
The account of Jesus' birth is given, and best understood by reading the accounts in the early chapters of both Matthew and Luke. Both tell different parts of the story, and are written to different audiences.
I was always taught that we need to read more than just the story when we come to the Bible, and look at who wrote what to whom, what the message was they were trying to convey, and what that means for us, especially as we read it through our cultural lenses.
So what's the Christmas story all about? I think it's about God blessing us, every one.
"Subject: Merry Christmas”
That’s how the email started…
… And I’ll admit that my heart sank a little.
I’m of the opinion that Christmas doesn’t start until the first Sunday of Advent, and even then I am not convinced that it has really sunk in until I hear “Fairytale of New York” played in public.
The reason for today’s email was to ask for some thoughts on my favourite Christmas song/carol for sharing:
note: people will have got here before me…
I present thoughts as they come from my head, without having consciously borrowed anyone else’s thinking!
It came to me in a meeting the other day. It’s only a partial revelation, but here it is:
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Did you see it too? In case you missed it:
Shepherds went to see Jesus.
But you knew that right? How about reading it this way:
Shepherds went to see the Son of God.
And? OK, let’s try one more time:
Shepherds went to see the Lamb of God.
But why does that matter? Does it matter? Maybe I’m reading too much into it, maybe you’ve thought this through already, but here’s my train of thought…
Remarcable is one man blogging about Youth Work, Theology, Family, Life and those other random things that come to mind.