My dear Friends,
Before the paling of the stars, Before the winter morn, Before the earliest cock crow, Jesus Christ was born
With this wonderful imagery, Christina Rossetti starts one of her Christmas poems and we are pointed towards the stable of Bethlehem. Was it a cave or a timber structure? In a sense it doesn’t matter. What does is the knowledge that the birth of Jesus marks new life for humanity and creation. You will not need me to tell you that the scene presented in most representations of the Nativity doesn’t bear much relationship to the actual birth of Jesus. What most seek to do is to lead us to an understanding of the light which Jesus brings into the world – the light of God’s love for each one of us.
When St. Francis of Assisi introduced the first crib using live people and animals in 1223, he wanted to remind everyone what Christmas was really about. He was concerned that too many people were drawn to the materialism of the age – not focusing on the things that really matter. If you pop into Holy Trinity over the Christmas season, you will find our own crib – also a gentle reminder that the baby Jesus at the heart of the scene transforms the tinsel and lights of Christmas into the knowledge of the ultimate reality of God’s love for each and every one of us.
We see so much in the world which shocks us, very often shaking us out of complacency. Covid has certain played a major part in this over the past couple of years. Yet the birth of Jesus assures us of one unshakeable truth: that Emmanuel’ – God is with us – with us in each of our situations – something to celebrate and give thanks for. We are all called to be signs of hope in a troubled world.
May I wish you a wonderful Christmas and joyous New Year from all at Holy Trinity.