“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” Ps 22:1
With every visit of the post man the letterbox is filled with Christmas cards, not surprising of course at this time of year. How many I wonder will depict adoring shepherds complete with lamb in arms or Magi kneeling in worship their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh being gently offered. The opening words of this psalm have a familiar ring but not from this place in the bible. We are far more familiar with them on the lips of Jesus as a cry of anguish on the cross and while these are words of David this psalm goes well beyond anything he suffered. Clearly as Jesus died this psalm was on his mind as these words were on his lips. Just think for a moment of the contrast between those who surrounded Jesus at his birth and those who surrounded him at his death.
In Bethlehem a loving mother, a gentle father, lowly shepherds, the Magi, astrologers. mystics, despised foreigners drawn to worship a new king by a star. Then at Golgotha a mocking crowd, his own people; scowling religious leaders who had badgered the authorities to crucify him and now gloated in their success, foreign soldiers who had cast lots for his clothes, and why not sure he wouldn’t be needing them again. King Jesus worshipped at birth despised at death and while we look forward to welcoming loved ones at Christmas after weeks of wondering if we could, he was left without friends facing death alone.... completely alone!
Well, you know that’s not something we want to think about just now, that’s to do with Easter, Good Friday and you might be thinking why rush there just let’s enjoy Christmas the angels, the shepherds and the Magi it’s been a hard year let’s just have time to celebrate this happy event. With you one hundred percent but while we celebrate the birth let’s also remember the reason for the season to coin a phrase, a well worn one in this case. You see even when his birth was announced his death was foretold and the reason for it as the angel told Joseph “you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 Clearly, the shadow of the cross reaches even to the manger in Bethlehem.