My hymn choice for 27 December was ‘Who would think that what was needed’ by John Bell and Graham Maule. The theme of the hymn is in the repeated last line of each verse: ‘God surprises earth with heaven, coming here on Christmas Day’.
Those who visited the Holy Family in Bethlehem, whether local shepherds or distant magi, were surprised by what they found there: ‘such a place as none would reckon holds a holy, helpless thing’.
The last verse asks whether our ‘centuries of skill and science’ put us in a better position to anticipate or appreciate the Incarnation. The implied answer is ‘no’, for God still surprises people by coming into their lives unexpectedly.