25th December 2020

As Christmas comes, “a deal has been done” – two sides, wrangling for years about their own best interests, have finally come to an agreement.

The Christmas message is different. One side – humanity – has not been involved in any negotiation. The shepherds did not discuss with the heavenly host how best to make an announcement without frightening the sheep. Mary didn’t negotiate with Gabriel about the number of pre-natal classes. Joseph didn’t wrangle for more paternity leave. The magi didn’t apply for funding to help with the cost of cross-border travel or tax relief on gifts.

The other side? As the New Testament puts it, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness…”

That’s sovereignty for you. As one commentator put it recently, “it’s what you choose to do with it that really matters” or, if you prefer,  “what can I give him, poor as I am?”

Michael Docker