2023-12-25 - 1. Weihnachtstag - (EN) - Pfarrerin Nicole Otte-Kempf

( Exodus 2,1-10 ) - [ Deutsch ]

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. And the Word was God.

Christmas is the story of a beginning. In the beginning is the birth of a child. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory. This is how Christmas sounds in the Gospel of John. In Luke, the beginning sounds like this: "And it came to pass in those days... When I hear these words, it is Christmas.

At Christmas we tell of a beginning. Or rather: of a new beginning. Because God's story with the world and people begins much earlier. This is how it begins: In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. And God said: let there be light. And there was light. And God saw that it was good. That's how it starts. It starts well.  But people are not very good at keeping it good. First they lose the Garden of Eden, then the wickedness increases, so much so that God repents and sends a flood. Noah is saved in an ark, a box that floats on the water. Then the rainbow. A new beginning. At this beginning, God's promise: It will be good! God chooses Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Their sons flee to Egypt and what was once good and salvation becomes a prison. Israel in Egypt, this means slavery, hard labour, fear of death. It needs a new beginning. And what could be better than the birth of a child? This is how the story of how God saves his people Israel begins.

(Exodus 2:1-10) Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket[a] for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”8 “Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses,[b] saying, “I drew him out of the water.”

A story from the beginning - and it echoes the other beginnings.

It begins with a little boy - and he was to die. Against this backdrop, three women now appear who succeed in making God's hidden actions visible and intervening in the course of events. Levi's daughter gives birth to a son, sees that he was beautiful, but circumstances force her to hide him. A small box made of cane, coated with earth resin and pitch, becomes his salvation and a tool in God's plan.  Little Moses' sister, Miriam, stands in the distance and watches as her brother's life hangs by a thread. An inconspicuous heroine unfolds here, a woman who follows events with a watchful eye and is prepared to act courageously. And Pharaoh's daughter, who is disobedient to her father. She suspects that the child is a child of the Hebrews. She courageously makes her own decision for life.

Strong women cooperate and thus bring about the salvation of Moses' child.

The Bible tells us nothing about whether God is behind all this.

But later, God will do great things with this little boy who was so miraculously saved. He will be pulled out of the water - just as he will later lead the Israelites through the waters of the Sea of Reeds.

The story of how God saves his people Israel begins with the birth of a child. We are celebrating Christmas today. The beginning of our story with God. And it begins with the birth of a child. This birth was also extraordinary. The people of Israel yearned for a new beginning. A child is born - and miraculously saved: his parents flee with him to Egypt - to the land where the first great saviour, Moses, was born. Both stories, the birth of Moses and the birth of Jesus, bear the stamp of divine intervention and a mother's love that is prepared to sacrifice everything.

Imagine if the two mothers, the mother of Moses and Mary, the mother of Jesus, could meet and talk to each other. Let's listen in.

Mary: Peace be with you, brave mother of Moses. Your story is known far across the centuries and I feel a connection to you, even though our times and places are different.

Mother of Moses: Peace be with you too, Mary, Mother of the Anointed One. Your Son has filled the world with love. It is strange and yet wonderful that we meet here.

Mary: Yes, the ways of God are often unfathomable. When you gave birth to Moses, you were forced to hide him. I remember how the angels announced the birth of Jesus to me. A time of joy, but also of uncertainty.

Mother of Moses: Your son, Jesus, was born in a stable, far away from royal chambers. Moses, on the other hand, was to be saved from the eyes of Pharaoh. But both times we felt the hand of God protecting our children.

Mary: Your faith and determination to protect Moses are admirable. When I held Jesus in my arms, I knew that his path would not be easy. But at every moment I felt the presence of God.

Mother of Moses: Our children were called to lead the people of God. Moses through the desert, Jesus on a spiritual path. Both brought divine messages for their time.

Mary: And yet there was also pain. The flight to Egypt, the crucifixion of my son. In our hearts we experienced the depth of the sacrifice and the hope of the resurrection.

Mother of Moses: The sacrifices that mothers make to protect their children and to fulfil God's will are comprehensive. The tears of farewell and the joy of return.

Mary: Yes, the similarities between our stories are amazing. God's plans unfold in different forms, but God's love and guidance remain.

Mother of Moses: Mary, let us recognize in this encounter the bond that lives in our hearts.

Mary: Amen, courageous Mother of Moses. May God's peace and love be upon us and our children and God's children all over the world.

In the beginning was God - and God still is. God saves - Moses and Jesus, the Israelites and all of humanity.

In the dead of night, God appears - again and again. Gives new beginnings from the beginning. Gives us a new beginning too, every year. In the beginning was God - and his love and guidance remain.

God's salvation sometimes begins in the seemingly small things, in a little box made of reeds or in a manger in Bethlehem. May the bond between the two mothers inspire us to use our gifts and talents to bring God's love and goodness into the history of the world.  And sometimes great and good things can come of it.

In the beginning was God - and his love and guidance remain. Amen.

covid 19

Logo and link provide as required by Government Notice No. 417 of the
South African Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services