Hello. Remember me? I was blogging every day with the #adventbookclub. And, whilst I’ve been following along the words of others, and reading Maggi’s book, and praying, actual blogging time has been limited. Half-formed thoughts just haven’t made their way onto the laptop; the laptop couldn’t make its way onto my lap during a prolonged parental visitation; a cold struck; and I’m still struggling to get the iPad app to talk to my webhost. But I’m hoping to now be able to complete the last few days, God willing…
Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 22:7-13 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.’ They asked him, ‘Where do you want us to make preparations for it?’ ‘Listen,’ he said to them, ‘when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, “The teacher asks you, ‘Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’” He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.’ So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
Before Maggi’s book pointed it out to me (there’s a reason I’m not a theologian by profession, you know) I’d never spotted that this was two borrowed rooms at each end of the story – the stable of the nativity and the upper room of the passover meal – the last supper.
I was struck Maggi’s observation that, whilst an Englishman’s home is his castle, a rented castle is somewhat less secure. This fits with a lot of the news of the last few days – for example, the latest Shelter survey here. The second of the borrowed rooms set in train the ultimate in insecurity – betrayal and death. Yet Jesus trusted in God the father.
Finally, I am struck again by the links between Christmas and Easter. I didn’t enter into the debate sparked by this post here – my views will have to wait for another blog post (be warned, there might be life in this blog between the Advent Book Club and the Big Read 14).
So, setting aside the question of preaching to the ‘unchurched’ at Christmas, for those of at least some traditions within the ‘churched’ there is a focus on the four last things – death, judgement, heaven and hell – throughout Advent. I give you, for example, my thoughts from last Advent here. And with that focus, the Incarnation is all too close for comfort – a baby born young and innocent, in the knowledge that sacrifice on the cross is the endgame. Which brings us neatly back to the symmetry I was struck by at the start – the borrowed room is the beginning of the beginning as well as the beginning of the end.