Mary: The Name that Tyrants Should Fear.
At this time of the year we get ready to hear once again the old, familiar story of a child born in stable at Bethlehem.
This is the Christmas story, a story we have all known since we were children – but it is no children’s tale.
There is part of the story that does not make it into church and school nativity plays.
It concerns the reason why God chose a girl called‘mary’(or Mariamme in the Aramaic language which Jesus and his contemporaries spoke).
Was it just by chance that God chose a girl named Mary to be the mother of Jesus?
Could God just have easily chosen a girl named Sarah or Elizabeth?
I am sure he could have, but the fact that he chose a‘mary’is significant.
In the years leading up to Jesus’birth there was a tyrant named Herod on the Jewish throne.
As a puppet King, under the thumb of Rome, Herod’s claim to the throne was dubious at best. In order to shore up his claim to the throne he married a princess from an older, more popular, Jewish Royal Family.
This princess was named ‘Mariamme (Mary) the Hasmonean’.
After marrying Mary and having children with her, he became paranoid that his sons might one day challenge his claim to the throne - so he had Mary and his sons executed.
In protest, many families chose to name their new baby girls‘mary’, as an act of defiance against Herod’s tyranny.
It was one of these girls that God chose to be mother of Jesus. The fact that God chose a‘mary’ to be the mother of Jesus is, for me, not an accident. It is a statement, a promise even, that one day God will overthrow all tyrants.
As Mary herself sang in her beautiful song, when told she would give birth to Jesus:‘god has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.’(luke 1: 52-53). Thanks be to God.
By the Reverend Christopher Rankine, of Hillhouse Parish Church.
Morning worship on Sunday, December 9, the second Sunday of Advent, will start at 11am and will be conducted by Rev Alastair Mckillop. A creche is available for babies and children up to three years and this runs from 10.45am. The Sunday Fun Club runs from 11am in the church Hall.
The St Machan’s Men’s Club is presenting a Christmas concert in the church on Saturday, December 8, at 7.30pm. Entertainment will be provided again by The Stonehouse Male Voice Choir and Coalburn Silver Intermediate and Junior Bands and Santa will be making an unscheduled stop. Entry is £5 at the door and this includes refreshments. There is no charge for children, when accompanied by an adult.
On Tuesday, December 11, the senior friendship circle will meet in the church hall at 1pm. This is their Christmas meeting and their guests will be the Salvation Army who will bring a sense of the Spirit of Christmas to the afternoon.
On Tuesday, December 11, the Genesis Youth Club will meet and this will be a games night. This club is for young people aged between 11 and 15.