From the Vicar……..
Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents’ house a couple of weeks before Christmas. At bedtime the boys sat as they usually did to say their prayers. The younger one began praying at the top of his voice: “DEAR GOD I PRAY THAT FOR CHRISTMAS YOU WOULD GIVE ME A NEW BIKE, THE LATEST LEGO STAR WARS AND AN IPAD MINI.”
The wise older brother leaned over and said to him, “Why are you shouting your prayers? God’s not deaf!” To which the little brother replied, “No, but Grandma is.”
For many people – not just children - Christmas is all about the trimmings: the presents, the food, the parties, the festivities, spending time with the family. In all the hype around Christmas (which every year seems to begin even earlier), it is easy for the true reason for Christmas to get drowned out by all the other noise.
However for Christians, Christmas is above all a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The profound mystery and glory of this celebration is that fact that in the baby of Jesus, God became human and chose to live as we do.
Of the many things to get your head around from this central tenet of the Christian faith, one simple but amazing aspect to reflect on is what this says about the extraordinary value and dignity of human life. Human life is so precious and so valuable that God himself would choose to become a human. The saviour of the world did not come to the world as a modern day superhero or an ancient god. The saviour of the world was like you and me, a human being with all our weaknesses, flaws and beauty. God obviously sees something wonderful about human life. In a world ravaged by Ebola, wars and abuse, human life can appear to be cheap. But Christmas reminds us of the infinite worth of all human life. The implications of this cut across all boundaries in life: politics, ethics, economics; and closer to home, simply the way we relate to each other, how we speak to each other and how we care for each other.
It also has implications for how we view ourselves. Christmas reminds us that we too are of infinite value and precious in God’s sight. The write of 1 John summarises the message of Christmas very succinctly:
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.· In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).
This Christmas may you cherish the precious gift of human life and be assured of how loved and valuable you are in God’s sight.
With love and prayers for a happy and blessed Christmas,
St John the Baptist
Serving God and the Community of Leytonstone for 180 years