1st Sunday after Christmas 31 December 2017

Vicar’s Reflection: 1st Sunday after Christmas, 31st December 2017

We don’t know what Jesus looked like because unfortunately the Gospel writers gave us no description. I believe he was a beautiful baby, child and adult. People noticed him. Hebrew notions of beauty were different from those of the Greeks and Romans who looked for physical beauty and athletic power. The Jews had an appreciation of beauty drawn from nature, as is well expressed in today’s Psalm 148. They also appreciated beauty from their understanding of the holiness and goodness of God as in last week’s Psalm 96:9: “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness…” What is this ‘beauty of holiness’ and how do we recognize it? It is a beauty that draws people, it is attractive. Beauty relates to God's glory; and is also associated with goodness, especially the Good News of Jesus: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”” Romans 10.15; and the fruit of the Spirit described by Paul in Galatians 5:22. The promised Messiah was prophesied to be a beautiful king (Isa 33:17) and to receive a ‘crown of beauty’. Yet Isaiah also said that the suffering Messiah would have "no beauty or majesty to attract us to him" (Isa 53:2). Perhaps this contradiction is why Jesus is never described. Yet clearly people were drawn to him and both Simeon and Anna saw something in the baby brought by Mary and Joseph that enabled Simeon to declare, “my eyes have seen your salvation.” May we be drawn again to the beauty of Jesus as we begin a New Year.

Alex Czerwonka

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