A Blessed Christmas

We have had a prayerful parish preparation for Christmas. On the Third Sunday of Advent, there was an outline of the very different stories of the Nativity which are full of fascinating symbol: an ideal invitation to read the stories at home, in our own bible.

On Monday evening SPANNED came from Hinckley and sang and danced the story of “Mother Mary” – a beautiful performance, and we were privileged to welcome such a dedicated group into our church: a perfect evening prayer.

All the sick in the parish have been able to receive Holy Communion for Christmas and I was happy to be able to take my share of the visits and to be at the hospital. I am slowly coming back to full strength and am grateful.

Now for the celebration of the Day, Sunday and Monday, our glorious faith that God chose to live a human life as we live, to be born as a baby and not simply to appear as a man, to be human, frail and limited as we are.

Is it true? Jesus said it was. He said he was divine. If he wasn’t then he was mad or bad: mad if he was deluded, bad if he knew he wasn’t divine but pretended he was; but truly God if what he said of himself was true . . . .

That’s our choice: he was mad, deluded; he was bad, a deceiver; he was God as he said he was. He certainly wasn’t a good man if he was mad or bad. He said he was God: “I and the Father are one” and we have chosen to believe in him. Others dismiss him as mad or bad or simply call him a good man. Tell them the truth: mad, bad, God.

Was his a natural birth or another miracle? We know from Matthew and Luke that he was conceived in Mary’s womb by the blessing of God and there was no human father. That is the virginal conception and is easy to accept. But the birth: was it natural or was it a virgin birth, a second miracle?

The date is 25th December but we do not know when he was born. The 25th was chosen by the Church in the 4th century to counteract the Roman pagan celebration of the sun god: “Dies natalis solis invicta – the day of the birth of the invincible sun”. The Church chose to celebrate the Son of God and not the sun god, and slowly Christmas replaced the pagan celebrations.

Happy Christmas in the blessings of God.

Fr John
(24th December 2017)