Christmas isn’t subtle. I think it’s probably getting less subtle as the years go by. As I write this, I can see the glowing aura of my neighbour’s Christmas lights, which are beautiful, but far from subtle. I’m looking forward to wearing my new Christmas waistcoat with my clerical collar this year, and friends it is anything but subtle! And while I guess there is maybe some sadness in the commercialisation, the noise, the busyness that Christmas has become, at its heart, Christmas was not subtle.
The thing is, the baby could have been born without any pre warning, but he wasn’t the prophets had been telling the world for hundreds of years prior to his birth. The baby could have been born without anyone else knowing, but the heavenly host simply couldn’t keep it to themselves. This was not a subtle birth, even though it did happen in obscurity.
And actually, it could never have been subtle, because light is like that. Jesus, this baby boy, is the light of the world. In a dark place, even the tiniest spark of light shines bright. Light isn’t subtle. Jesus, light of the world, being born into this dark world, isn’t subtle.
So this advent, perhaps our challenge could be to similarly not be subtle. To light everything up, with the light of Christ.