The Christmas story is a wonderful, magnificent story, it is so much more than a warm and fuzzy story of the birth of a baby boy, it is a rich display of the wonderful, majestic and magnificent love of a God who stands not above or outside of humanity but who inhabits it in all its grime and pain and suffering. A God who refuses to conform and risks everything to demonstrate that when the world is at its darkest even the smallest light can dispel it.
In Charles Dickens’s book ‘A Christmas Carol’ the lead character Ebenezer Scrooge asks of his nephew;
“What’s Christmastime to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, and not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books, and having every item in ’em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? “ [Excerpt From: Charles Dickens. “A Christmas Carol.”]
In response, Scrooge’s nephew declares that Christmas is:-
“a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely and to think of people below them as if they were fellow-passengers to the grave and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” [Excerpt From: Charles Dickens. “A Christmas Carol.”]
Dickens in his novel grasps a reality that has passed many of us by, a reality that in this story of God’s coming to Earth, we see the poorest, most needy and the ostracised playing the major role. In this story, we see a reminder that those that we have written off in life are often the very ones that God chooses to remind us of his message of love for all creation. This story reminds us that God does not belong to a single religious group or social class but transcends that blowing down the walls that we build and replacing them with bridges.
This Christmas I hope that above all else you will know that you are loved, yes by family and friends but also by a God who cares so much that he would be prepared to come to live among us.
Christmas is a time when we speak of Shepherds and outcasts and foreigners and refugees. It’s a time when in the church we recognize that ALL are welcome, regardless of age, race, gender, sexuality, or religion. At Christmas God sends us the message wrapped in bands of cloth to say all creation are his beloved children. So please join us at one of our services if you are able. There are no expectations and no barriers, all are welcome to celebrate with us this amazing festival of love.
Revd Gareth Phillips