Challenge Christmas 

Teaching series: Christmas 2009

The nation (well some!) have come to love the Top Gear challenges.  You may have your favourite.  Vietnam?  Sailing to France in a car?   Sending a rocket-propelled mini down a ski slope?  They make great entertainment partly because they are daft, but also because they are demanding, even dangerous.  Maybe you prefer the “star in a reasonably priced car” challenge, or once in a while you just try it yourself on the way home from work!  There is something about a challenge that entices us.  (If you have never watched Top Gear think Challenge Anneka with more danger and less purpose!)
 
At the first Christmas God handed out several challenge cards to the human players in the story:  Mary, a teenage peasant girl;  Joseph, an apprentice carpenter;  some country boys watching sheep;  a few city slickers from abroad;  and a tyrant king called Herod.  At first glance these challenges seemed dafter than Top Gear’s.  They were certainly more demanding and dangerous for all of them.  It was definitely Challenge Christmas.
 
As you watch from your sofa, remote in hand, soon the credits will roll and another Top Gear challenge will be over.  After all, it was their challenge not ours.  Challenge Christmas was different.  As you watch the various players take up their challenge (or not) you become aware that the credits never roll.  The challenge goes on.  Their challenge becomes your challenge as we become part of the story they began.  Daft?  Yes, for sure … and yet wiser than the greatest wisdom. 
 
Will you take the challenge or switch the channel?
 
A Mother's Challenge Challenge Christmas - A Mother's Challenge
(Reading: Luke 1:26-38)
Simon Harris 27 Dec 2009
A Father's Challenge Part 1 of Challenge Christmas - A Father's Challenge
(Readings: Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 2:13-15)
Revd Simon Harris 13 Dec 2009