The Babe of Bethlehem - Christmas message by Rev Philip Johnson, Vicar of Sleaford

rev johnson

rev johnson

0
Have your say

One​ ​of​ ​my​ ​favourite​ ​carols​ ​begins​ ​‘O​ ​little​ ​town​ ​of​ ​Bethlehem​ ​how​ ​still​ ​we​ ​see​ ​the​ ​lie​ ​/​ ​above​ ​thy deep​ ​and​ ​dreamless​ ​sleep​ ​the silent​ ​stars​ ​go​ ​by​ ​/​ ​yet​ ​in​ ​thy​ ​dark​ ​streets​ ​shineth​ ​the​ ​everlasting​ ​Light​ ​/ the​ ​hopes​ ​and​ ​fears​ ​of​ ​all​ ​the​ ​years​ ​are​ ​met​ ​in​ ​thee tonight.’.

I​ ​thought​ ​of​ ​this​ ​carol​ ​a​ ​few​ ​days​ ​ago when​ ​I​ ​saw​ ​a​ ​picture​ ​of​ ​a​ ​young​ ​baby​ ​held​ ​by​ ​a​ ​white​ ​helmeted​ ​rescuer​ ​in​ ​the​ ​rubble​ ​strewn​ ​streets of​ ​Aleppo.​ ​We​ ​have​ ​all​ ​seen​ ​horrific​ ​images​ ​of​ ​Aleppo​ ​and​ ​can​ ​only​ ​begin​ ​to​ ​imagine​ ​how​ ​‘dark’​ ​the streets​ ​must​ ​be​ ​for​ ​those​ ​who​ ​call​ ​Aleppo​ ​home.​ ​Yet​ ​in​ ​the​ ​picture​ ​of​ ​that​ ​war​ ​torn​ ​city​ ​I​ ​saw​ ​a​ ​baby (a​ ​potent​ ​symbol​ ​of​ ​hope​ ​for​ ​the​ ​future)​ ​held​ ​by​ ​a​ ​rescuer​ ​(a​ ​white​ ​helmet​ ​‘shining’​ ​in​ ​the​ ​darkness).

In​ ​many​ ​ways​ ​that​ ​picture​ ​encapsulated​ ​the​ ​Christmas​ ​story​ ​as​ ​much​ ​as​ ​any​ ​stable​ ​scene​ ​with​ ​Mary, Joseph,​ ​ox​ ​and​ ​ass.​ ​The​ ​Christmas​ ​story​ ​tells​ ​us​ ​about​ ​the​ ​world​ ​as​ ​it​ ​often​ ​is,​ ​a​ ​place​ ​of​ ​suffering, oppression,​ ​tyranny,​ ​fear​ ​–​ ​darkness.​ ​But​ ​God​ ​so​ ​loved​ ​that​ ​world​ ​(our​ ​world)​ ​that​ ​he​ ​gave​ ​us​ ​the​ ​gift of​ ​his​ ​son,​ ​Jesus​ ​–​ ​a​ ​baby​ ​who​ ​brought​ ​hope​ ​to​ ​a​ ​dark​ ​world​ ​and​ ​still​ ​brings​ ​hope​ ​today.​ ​In​ ​the darkness​ ​this​ ​gift​ ​of​ ​love​ ​shines​ ​out.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​the​ ​light​ ​of​ ​hope,​ ​the​ ​light​ ​of​ ​love​ ​and​ ​the​ ​darkness​ ​will​ ​not extinguish​ ​this​ ​light.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​why​ ​our​ ​principal​ ​celebration​ ​of​ ​Christmas​ ​is​ ​the​ ​Midnight​ ​Mass.​ ​In​ ​the darkness​ ​of​ ​night,​ ​the​ ​church​ ​is​ ​ablaze​ ​with​ ​light,​ ​as​ ​we​ ​sing​ ​‘the​ ​hope​ ​and​ ​fears​ ​of​ ​all​ ​the​ ​years​ ​are met​ ​in​ ​thee​ ​tonight’.

May​ ​you​ ​have​ ​a​ ​peaceful​ ​Christmas​ ​and​ ​a​ ​happy​ ​new​ ​year.