Advent season is well under way and we are fast approaching Christmas day.
Sadly another true hero of many passed away this past week, and I will have to reflect on his life further in the future, but we will all have heard that Nelson Mandela passed away at age 95.
In many ways, he had a long life, but in terms of time in was just a wee moment. But his was a life that, while we will mourn for the loss, is also one that truly was rich and full. A world-changing life that must be acknowledged.
We cannot dispute his start to life was not on the best of terms, and that in his early days, he was what today one would consider a terrorist, and it cost him many years in prison.
Yet one of the beautiful things of life is that there is the principle of redemption, of forgiveness and restoration, in his life it was such a reality that a criminal was able to find his place at the top spot of his country of South Africa.
An amazing story that I hope the soon to come movie is truly faithful to tell and that I will enjoy it as much as I am lead to believe it is good.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying: “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Now one of the words we don’t like to say much anymore is “sin”, we want nothing to be wrong with our lives or the lives of those we love.
Yet we freely admit the wrong of ‘those people’ that are not on our list of approved folk. Yet the truth is we all need the application of verse 21, the redemption offered.
As Mandela was redeemed in his society to become great so it is that Jesus came to offer each of us redemption, no matter how much or little we think we need it.
It is there for us because he was born on that day so many years ago.