Rector's Blog

Rector’s Christmas Message

Nobody knows the actual date that Jesus was born and most people don’t imagine it was the 25th December.  Here in the Northern Hemisphere, however, the 25th December, so close as it is to the Winter equinox,  the shortest day of the year, is a very good day to celebrate the birth of Christ.  Not just because we need a time of celebration, of feasting and alleviating the short dark depressing days although that is important and should not be easily dismissed, but because we celebrate the coming of the Jesus, the Light of the World coming to illuminate the darkness.

And it is important to remember that everybody’s lives are made up of good times and bad and that life is not like a double page spread in one of those Good Housekeeping magazine photoshoots that are featured in the December editions or a smiling, beautiful family sitting round a Christmas table on a TV advertisement – who never fall out, and whose Christmas fayre is always perfect.  Real life is much more messy than that.

And times now are difficult.  Covid has turned our world upside down leaving so many people in dire need with people losing loved ones, unable to visit members of their families in care homes and anxious about their jobs and the future. Yet it is not the only issue, across the world there is war, famine, we see people fleeing murderous regimes and making perilous journeys to try to bring their families to safer climes sometimes dying in the process.  We worry about climate change and the world our children will inherit.

But if the world seems a dark place that means we need Christmas more than ever.  Christmas is not just about fairy lights, carols singers and robins on Christmas cards.  Joseph and Mary found shelter in a stable, having been unable to find any better lodgings for the night.   Let’s not forget that they had to flee their homeland after Jesus’ birth and were refugees in Egypt.  The birth of Jesus actually led Herod to an act of great violence against children.  This story is just about as far away from the impeccable staged home photographs I referred to earlier as you can get.  All aspects of being human are in that story.

And Jesus brings hope and light to all humanity. The nearest we can get to describing just what it is like when we let Jesus into our lives is to describe it as a light shining in the darkest corners of our world.  God came into the world as a helpless vulnerable baby but he brought light and hope.

My purple stole has a lighthouse embroidered on it with shafts of light reaching out – for me that symbolises how I see Jesus in my life – constantly shining and calling me safely home, however difficult the times. Sometimes I forget to keep my eye on the lighthouse but it is always there, ready to guide me.

There is light amongst the darkness. The prophet Isaiah foretold that “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
Those who lived in a land of deep darkness- On them a light has shone” 
(Isaiah 9:2).  

This year, perhaps more than ever, we need to fix our gaze on Jesus, on our  lighthouse, guiding us from stormy seas safely into harbour. Rev’d Andrea Jones, Rector, 18th December 2020