Monthly Letter to the Parish - December 2018
What's so special about Christmas?
It's a welcome break in the middle of the winter; it's a chance to get together with friends and family; parties and presents ... and so on. Yes, it is all of these but is there not something rather deeper going on too? The central character is a new born baby and the creation of a new life is a joyful mystery that excites all: we may know a great deal about genetics, DNA structure, cell division and so on, but none of these adequately explain the existence of our consciousness and self-awareness (or indeed the very matter of which we are made).
The baby of the Christmas story was not born in a modern hospital or into a warm comfortable home. For him it was a rough and humble start to life, born to very ordinary parents in the most unpromising of settings. That is a very appealing feature of the story and it symbolizes the message that this baby was later to bring to those around him and to the world at large - that wealth, power and status are not the ways to 'measure' human worth: every individual, of whatever background, is loved by their creator and is invited to reflect that love back into the world around them in whatever ways they can. That love is embedded in the very fabric of creation and that is why one of the names for Jesus is 'Emmanuel' which translates to 'God with us' - that is at the heart of Christmas - may it be so for you.