When we dust off our cute little nativity scenes each year we think little about the world that Jesus was born into.  We know the famous story of Joseph, Mary and the manger but we know very little of the kind of society that these events took place in.  As we start our Christmas series for 2015 we will look at what this society was like and how the coming of Jesus dramatically changed it. Luke 18:9-14

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee,standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off,would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”