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Imagining the Lectionary: Christmas barbed and barbarous (Advent 4A)

Reflection accompanying image Christmas barbed and barbarous

"they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, God is with us"   Matthew 1:23

When juxtaposed with an image of barbed wire the definition of the word barbarous is revealing. The vicious purpose of these short spikes of metal is to rip and tear flesh. Such wire is designed to keep out those individuals and groups deemed undesirable or dangerous.

Those who are not like us. Particularly those who are foreign, strange, savage even. All across the globe wire like this separates and defines humanity. It attempts to keep what we know safe and exclude what we fear.

The gospels take wire cutters to such barbed and barbarous thinking. Seen from the wrong side of the wire Christmas is a divine protest movement which breaks into the easy enclaves and comfortable compounds of thought and behaviour which deny others the right to fulness of life. And in Jesus God leads the way, ripping up fences of hatred and distrust and moving right through to the vulnerabilities of the human heart, where love births togetherness and respect.




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