Power and Poverty

#4 Christmas Reflection

By Ben Thurley

Published 3 Jan 2023


"Wise men."

Astrologers. Sorcerer-Priests, perhaps from the courts of Persian kings.

Gathered, at last, at the home of an infant and his shell-shocked family.

Adoration of the Magi - Painting by Sandro Botticelli
Adoration of the Magi - Painting by Sandro Botticelli

They had read signs in the stars. They had travelled vast distances across that country to the place where the infant Jesus was dandled on the knee of his father and held to the breast of his mother. They had scouted water and foraged food on the long and dangerous journey. They bowed their saddle-weary bodies and gave their royal gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to a mere child.

They saw that here was one greater than the kings they had served in the East. Greater than the king, Herod, who ruthlessly sought to protect his own power in the face of any threat, even from a child.

But it isn't only the powerful who may bring gifts in response to the signs they see. It really is something remarkable that God invites and draws us to also bring gifts in response to the gift we have received in Jesus.

I think of the missionaries and expatriate volunteers who may have given up privilege and status and even wealth to serve in Nepal, loving those whom the king loves to death and beyond. I think also of our Nepalese sisters and brothers who lead the work and go furthest in their calling to love and serve poor and marginalised people so they can share hope and healing. 

The magi were not magical. They were just people.  

Missionaries are not superheroes. They are just people who put what they have, and who they are, in the hands of the one who was born into poverty, and gave himself to death on a cross, so that we might receive all the riches of God.

We don't need to be anything other than who we are, with what we have, in order to share a gift in response to God's generosity. 

We can use our voice to speak up against injustice as a gift of service and an act of love. We can give our time and energy to the people and the places who are too often ignored in our world. We can share our wealth to support communities in their hard work against poverty. 

These are gifts given in response to the gift we have received.

International Nepal Fellowship is standing alongside our partner, Shanti Nepal, to build a Birthing Centre and support income development, food production and better health care in one of Nepal's most remote communities.

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