I stood behind the Scripture Gift Stall, which looked a little different to the other stalls at the Church Christmas Fayre; no elves, no Santa Claus, no glitter balls, cuddly toys, bags, shawls, scarves – just Bibles, book marks, books, journals, pens, all kinds of everything but all with a scripture verse, or Christian Message. I just didn’t want the Nativity Story, or the true meaning of Christmas to be forgotten – is Christmas really about Father Christmas in his Grotto, the Elves packing Christmas Gifts; or shouldn’t there be a child in swaddling clothes somewhere.
Lots of people came and went, and I am happy to say took with them a little gift for someone who couldn’t be here, this afternoon.
Then as I was absorbed in a child’s picture bible, my first Advent Blessing arrived; in the form of a tall young man, dressed in leather jacket and warm woolly jumper; he stopped to buy ‘Footprints’ bookmarks and noticing the colourful picture books, took out a mobile phone,
“Look,” he said and showed me a photo of Christ wearing the crown of thorns, and another of the Virgin Mary.
“I have this one tattooed on my back,” He said with twinkle in his eye, “And Mary on my front” – he somehow managed to lift jacket and jumper high enough for me to take a look, then very quickly covered up again.
“Oh,” I said, “You are an illustrated bible!”
He just grinned, “Don’t tell everybody” and walked briskly away.
Well, I have thought about it, like this.
Jesus and the Crown on thorns on his back – because Jesus, wearing that crown, carried us all on His back as he carried that cross to Calvary, our redemption to win,
and because the infant Jesus needed a little help to arrive into this world, in order to do that, Mary who said yes on his heart.
Somehow it all made perfect sense – we are all called to carry our cross following closely our Saviour up front, but first we all have to agree with our Father and say our yes as Mary did hers.
With every blessing this Advent Season, from the Illustrated Bible and me!