Christmas Message 2015
Posted on the 23rd Dec 2015 in the category Announcements
Yet again, the year that is ending has witnessed violence and tragedy around the world – in oppression, terrorism and war, and in actions of local prejudice and bigotry. Who can forget the images from Paris, or the tragic sight of the young child washed up on a Mediterranean beach? One of our Anglican hymns for Advent cries out to God:
Where is Thy reign of peace
and purity, and love?
When shall all hatred cease,
as in the realms above?
It is a prayer that will be repeated with great fervour this Christmas by refugees and displaced people, by wounded and bereaved people, the world over, especially in Paris, across Syria and Iraq, and, unforgettably, in Bethlehem.
But this agony that we feel—as violence, and the threat of more, and its consequences continue—is simply the reverse side of the great good news of this season: that God has taken on our human form and raised it to glory. The Immortal Son of God has taken on our mortal flesh, and now the face of Christ has been revealed in all human beings.
For the eyes of faith, the consequence of this fact is that no human form or face can hereafter be ignored or abused; and whenever those same eyes see God’s image attacked and disfigured, they will weep all the more bitterly. Thus the strange fact is that what makes us most passionately glad and grateful at Christmas is also what gives us the possibility of grieving as we should for the disfiguring of God’s image in the world. Let us trust that it also gives us the vision, the courage and the strength to go on working and praying for a world in which God’s image in mankind—but not only mankind, in the created environment also—is universally honoured and protected.
Our transcendent and glorious Lord has bowed in loving respect to our fallen and failed human nature; as Christians we can do no other than imitate such loving respect. As the carol has it, ‘O that Mary’s gentle child might lead us up to glory!’
May Christ, who renews our hope in this celebration, be with you throughout the whole of the coming year.