A Cramond Christmas Quiz

Welcome to the Cramond Christmas quiz

Are you all sitting comfortably, then we can begin.

Question 1; According to the Bible, the shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks by night – so how many sheep exactly – or at least to the nearest number – 50, 100, 1000 - and don’t fall asleep counting them please?

Question 2; Who were the wise men  - were they spin doctors, Strictly Come dancing contestants or stand-up comedians?

Come on, thinking caps on please, this is serious, intelligent theological stuff.

Question 3: what were the other animals in the stable where Jesus was born - an ox, a donkey or a mouse called Michael?

Everyone doing well so far  – one more question.

Question 4: outside Bethlehem’s stable was there a Christmas tree, a robin, the Reverend I M Jolly?

Hands up if you have answered all four questions?

Hands up if you haven’t a clue?

Excellent – because that is the right answer and you can go to the top of the class.

You see, the Bible doesn’t give us much detail of the Christmas story and if we are honest, many of our best loved Christmas traditions and customs come from Victorian times.

Mark was the first of the four gospels to be written and Mark makes no mention of the circumstances of Jesus’ birth.

It is Matthew and Luke who added the birth stories to Mark’s original text.

Truth to tell, we don’t even know the exact date of Jesus’ birth.

25 December was a pagan mid-winter festival in ancient times and the festival was taken over by the early church and turned into a celebration of Jesus’ birth.

As for our Christmas carols - the cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, the little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes – obviously never tried babysitting our grandson Angus!

Yet for all that the historical evidence is limited, the Christmas stories in the Bible resonate and so do the traditional Christmas carols.

Why?

They resonate because they awaken something deep within, something that goes beyond the surface of what we call the festive season, something that captures our imagination, awakens our sense of wonder, puts us in touch with ourselves, puts us in touch with God, puts us in touch with the heart-stopping, breath-catching mystery at the heart of the Christmas gospel.

Look up into the night sky and you can feel overwhelmed by the immense majesty of it all, the wonder of the universe, the wonder of creation.

But look down, look down into the manger, look down into the face of that new born child and what do you see – you see the wonder of God come among us, the wonder of God one of us, the wonder of God’s care and love for you.

Surprising – of course it is!

Not what you expected, certainly nothing you asked for and nothing you deserved?

Good - that is how it is supposed to be – for the story of birth and new life is the story of a gift, God’s gift to you, God’s give to all.

And so a merry and blessed Christmas to you and yours.

Russell Barr


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