A View From The Vicarage, December
Charles Dickens once observed “Christmas comes but once a year and yet somehow it seems, it fills up all our memories and is part of all our dreams.”
It never ceases to astound me how true those words still feel so many years after Dickens first wrote them. But maybe that’s part of the wonder and the miracle of Christmas. At its heart is a story as old as time itself, the birth of a child, something that all of us whoever, whatever or wherever we are can instantly relate to. Whether we’re parents or not every single human person can marvel at the miracle of new and defenceless life. All of us whatever our circumstance have I’m sure seen and marvelled at newborn infants and either felt or witnessed the mingled joy and admiration in the eyes and hearts of new parents. As we look into the eyes of any newborn baby we can see hope, expectation and innocence. Right at the centre and heart of any truly authentic Christmas celebration is the miracle of that child born in Bethlehem so long ago. The child who was God in human form. Along with the hope and the innocence of that particularly precious child those who looked upon him would also have seen in his eyes the pain and sadness of the world he had come to redeem.
Let’s not forget that the birth of this especially miraculous child was not just some random biological fact it was a definite and carefully prepared divine remedy for the mess which human beings had and continue to cause to the world which God created.
Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that such issues remain in the past; they are still too much part of the present. If you are in any doubt about this at all then just consider for a moment the appalling conflicts which continue to so mar and disfigure the planet and the increasingly strident voices of the scientific community about the ramifications of climate change. In too many parts of the world children are still born as refugees, as illegal migrants with as little prospect of survival as did the Holy Child of Bethlehem so long ago.
That surely is the tragedy and the shame of Christmas that nearly 2000 years after Jesus’ birth, children are being born today and now in conditions as appalling as that most famous and holy child who first opened his eyes on the world in Bethlehem so long ago.
As the very best and most durable Christmas present of all, let’s commit ourselves a new to see in each and all of those children the face of Christ, just as surely as they do in us and pray and work to ensure that the injustices and inequalities of the past cease to be part of the present and even less of the future.
With that I’d like to wish you all a happy and blessed Christmas and God’s most abundant blessings throughout 2018.
With my love and prayers and always