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Love and Light

Spiritual Wing - Christmas in the 21st Century: a Christian perspective

"He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy. He, the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute." – St. Augustine

‘Deck the halls with boughs of holly’, put up the ‘Christmas tree, O Christmas tree’ and perhaps spend a ‘silent night, holy night’, remembering the true meaning to Christmas, but for many people today the Christmas message is easily lost amidst the shopping, family commitments and children’s parties. So what does Christmas mean to me? Perhaps not what it does to Stevie Wonder, even though it is a great song!

Christmas to a Christian is the start of something wonderful. The waiting period of advent is full of expectation…the hype grows as another day is burnt off the advent candle or with each Sunday’s advent service. The lights appear, just as the star appeared in the sky to lead the magi towards the baby Jesus, the long awaited King of the Jews; the Messiah who would offer humans the chance to repair their relationship with God – the relationship bruised and injured by the Original Sin way back in the Garden of Eden. Our ‘wait’ of just 24 days reminds us of the thousands of years of history when people waited and kept faith that God would return.

Christmas is a chance to know the personal nature of God, to become one of the characters we know so well; to become Mary who was chosen by God to be His mother, to become Joseph who had to surrender to God and trust that all would be well, to become the humble shepherds who waited so desperately for the news of a saviour who would bring them freedom at last. It’s a chance for us to confront our own fear and jealousy as we hear about Herod’s massacre of the babies, a chance for us to consider how far we are prepared to travel in the hope of seeing our dreams come true as the wise men did.

And, perhaps above all, Christmas is a time for us to realise how much God loves us. To be born as a baby whose life was in danger before he’d even taken his first breath and who was chosen to bear the weight of humanity, to live his life solely to show people the unconditional love of God and then to die in the most excruciatingly painful and humiliating way – what a sacrifice to make for us. He was perfect, and he took the pain of the world before he was even born.

So as we look at the baby in the manger we are called to remember: this tiny child was born to die, and that is why the angels sing his glory as he lies in the stable, the lowest of the low. Jesus wasn’t born to be rich or to parade his power to those he met. He was born to show us that he understands what it is like to be human: the good and the bad, the joy and the pain that make us who we are. He was born to love us and to invite us to love him in return.

Kathryn Crosweller