The most frequently-heard question in the television soaps? ‘What’s going on?’
Whether we are watching life as it is lived in the north of England or the east end of London or even in the big cities of Australia, it’s always the same. ‘What’s going on?’
The consistent viewer, when he hears those words, is able to make an intelligent guess as to what is about to happen.
A fatal road accident, a punch-up between rival gangs, the startling revelation that Darren and Michelle are sleeping together.
But it is only the writer of the programme who really knows the next scene. He is the one who had the inspiration in the first place and planned it all in his mind before putting the script together.
I have often pondered the Christmas story from this angle, and not just in December either. The central characters, Mary and Joseph, must have anguished over why they had been chosen by God to take care of the infant Jesus. What a responsibility!
The shepherds on the hillside were completely blown away by events surrounding the birth of a new king in Israel. What a privilege, that they should be given before anyone else!
It had a devastating effect on the national leaders of the day, and the teachers of religion. What an intrusion into their long-established traditions!
Two thousand years later, we don’t have to question why this historic happening is still celebrated in every corner of our world. The proclamation of the angels, ‘Today the Saviour is born’*, is just as powerful now as it was then. Easter sets it in perspective. * Matthew 2, 8-20.
You can’t have one without the other, as they say. The final episode (or was it?): Jesus giving his life on the cross and rising from the dead.
I hope that, for me and those who enjoy the season with me, we will keep this truth very much in our thoughts. Otherwise, the holiday doesn’t make sense.