‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.. Through him all things were made.. In him was life.. the light of all mankind.. The light shines in the darkness.. The true light that gives light to everyone.. We have seen his glory.. full of grace and truth.‘
The birth of the Son of God was heralded by the angel of the Lord, accompanied by the shekinah, the glory of God, and was followed by a multitude of the heavenly host singing praises. And for whose benefit was this magnificent display? Kings? Presidents? Politicians? Religious leaders?
No, it was all for a few lowly shepherds – humble, poor, obscure and unnamed rustics of whom nothing more is heard in Scripture thereafter.
While today’s puffed-up prelates court the wealthy, famous and influential, so today’s wealthy, famous and influential seek out the private chapels and grand palaces of these prelates as the perfect stage for their displays of religiosity. But not these shepherds. No, the Lord deemed them worthy because they were lowly. They were not body-beautiful celebrities, gifted communicators, powerful decision makers or authoritative opinion-formers. They were simply ordinary men, and the Lord chose them to be among the first to know that the Christ was born; the Messiah had entered history; the Son of God had come to redeem mankind – Immanuel. God became One with us so that we could become one with Him. This is the miracle of salvation.
Some will today reflect on the Prime Minister’s theo-political Christmas Message:
..security.. family.. refugee camps.. Daesh.. persecution.. doctors, nurses, carers and volunteers.. brave armed forces..
It is because they face danger that we have peace. And that is what we mark today as we celebrate the birth of God’s only son, Jesus Christ – the Prince of Peace. As a Christian country, we must remember what his birth represents: peace, mercy, goodwill and, above all, hope. I believe that we should also reflect on the fact that it is because of these important religious roots and Christian values that Britain has been such a successful home to people of all faiths and none…
That’s nice. But it’s a relief to know that one day the Government will be upon another shoulder, and David Cameron (and his successors) will step aside (or be forced to). The real deliverer and the real fulfilment of the needs of humanity is human; one of us, flesh of our flesh. He is born to rule, born to be a king, conceived of the house and lineage of David. His name is Wonderful – a mystery of divinity in humanity; Counsellor – the oracle of wisdom; the mighty God – the Word was not just with God, but was God; the Everlasting Father – not the same person as the Father, but of one substance with the Father; the Prince of Peace – bringing a peace that passes understanding.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Christmas Message:
..Shepherds.. God.. vision.. life-transforming and life-giving.. mysteries.. incarnation.. simplicity.. war and suffering.. desperate and hungry.. Jesus himself was carried by anxious parents to the safety of another land.
..we are called back to the simplicity of the Incarnation. Jesus identified himself completely with the poorest and the most broken of the Earth. Those who are lost in our world today seek the simplicity and beauty of that gift, which as we identify together unites us in adoration of the God who gave his only son.
No matter what evil stalks the world or suffering befalls us, there is a hope. Man will live forevermore because of Christmas Day. A joyful, peaceful and blessed Christmas to all regular communicants, intermittent guests and occasional readers – a vast virtual congregation which is loved and welcome here everyday. May you find strength and hope, and may the hearts of many receive the blessed truth of the birth of the Saviour. Merry Christmas one and all!