We have a robin, with his familiar red breast, that frequents our garden this time of the year. Are you familiar with the legend of how he got that fiery red colouring? It is said that in the Bethlehem stable Mary was cold and couldn’t leave the infant Jesus to rouse the embers of the dying fire. She asked the other animals in the byre, but none could stir themselves to help, until the robin, a small, plain brown bird, who had been observing everything from the rafters, flew down and with his tiny wings began to fan the coals. Faster and faster his wings flapped until the coals began to change from grey, to red, to orange until finally the embers flamed.
To perform this act of kindness however involved a price. It required the tiny bird to come too close to the heat and the feathers on his chest were singed and he carries to this day the sign of his kindness in that distinctive red colouring.
Of course, it’s just a legend, but it reminds me that in the midst of all that is joyous about this season, in all the gift giving and receiving, the feasting and the wonder, there are elements of this story that burn.
This is an extract from the Broadcast Service.
It is also part of the Johannine Advent Synchroblog
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