marks the beginning of Advent. We
remember and celebrate the coming of Christ to our world. This is done partly in our preparations for
Christmas -the birth of a child who is Godís good news for the world. His birth is significant because of his
subsequent life, death and resurrection.
And since the stories of Jesus were written down some time after his
life, the full significance of who he was and what he did is
contained in all the stories. For
example, when Jesus is taken by his parents to be presented in the Temple,
Simeon blessed the child, and said to Mary, ĎAnd sorrow, like a sharp sword,
will break your own heart.í (Luke 2.35)
The allusion to suffering introduces us to a theme which is central to
any reading of the New Testament.
this is a bright start to December! What is Simeon saying to a couple who have
just had their first baby and already he is talking about pain? Well, as we approach Christmas it is certainly
not in a spirit of escapism. A boy was
born then who came to know suffering in his life. He was not immune from the
injustices, prejudices and hatreds of his day and nor were his parents. We are told by Matthew that they fled to Egypt because
of a hostile regime while others remained and bore the brunt of a senseless and
brutal massacre. ĎA mother is crying for her children and she refuses to be
comforted, for they are dead.í (Matthew2.18)
approach Christmas this year with big uncertainties. Both at home and abroad
there are concerns for safety and stories of hunger, war, people on the move
and devastated communities. There are big question marks about what is
affordable and for many the pressure that Christmas brings is going to be very
difficult. Behind each story is a complicated background. No one this Christmas
receives prettily wrapped answers that make suffering go away. God who comes to
our world, comes to it just as it is.
His birth is a sign of hope; one that engages as much with twenty first
century life as his own first century.
hope that you will be able to join with us for any of the special services
through this next month and into the New Year as we explore and celebrate Godís
presence with us and its significance for our lives.