The first Christmas was a difficult one. Not just because of the endless travelling and the lack of a bed. But because the first century world in which Jesus was born was as troubled and fractured as ours feels today.
He came as a baby into a world experiencing political turmoil and a rise in populism which led to uprisings and the brutal putting down of uprisings. Thousands of people were on the move as refugees. The image we are given of the peaceful stable scene does little to convey the fear of the world outside, and most probably, the reality of Mary and Josephs experience as anxious first time parents!
Yet nevertheless at its heart the stillness of this image, unreal as perhaps it is, conveys the deeper truth of Jesus’s birth: for his coming was a message of peace for ourselves and for the world, for the whole of creation. The message of Jesus is that God’s love is for us all, whoever we are, wherever we are from, wherever we live.
In a country now where so many of us feel disconnected and disempowered, his message of love is as empowering as ever.
The prophet Isaiah said: “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles”. If you feel tired and anxious, refresh yourself with God’s love this Christmas. And then look at the relationships you have which may be in need of refreshment. For most of us, what we can do best in a time of national and global uncertainty is to start with reconnecting and rebuilding the relationships we have in our lives. In this way, we share God’s love and peace with those around us and, family by family, with the whole world.
Anne Frank wrote: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
What’s stopping you this Christmas?
This year the pupils and staff of Danesfield School Church of England School very kindly took part in the video for Bishop Peter’s Christmas message, we thank them all for their patience and hospitality.