At the heart of Christmas
8th December 2021
The Church of England’s theme for Christmas this year is ‘At the heart of Christmas’ – an invitation to everyone to discover – or rediscover – the good news of God’s saving love as revealed in the birth of Jesus. It is also a challenge to each of us to ponder in our hearts – as Mary did – what the extraordinary events of the first Christmas might mean for us now and in the years ahead.
There are a number of resources available for use in Churches which we encourage you to explore and use accordingly.
Bishop Alan has also recorded a Christmas message; the text of which is written below.
Christmas message December 2021
Last month the media was full of stories about an auction where one lot sold for 13m dollars. It was only a sheaf of papers. What was so special about them? These were the papers on which Albert Einstein had written out the calculations which led to his famous equation E = MC2. It was an equation which changed the way that people understood the world.
Last week I went and looked at some other old papers. If you come out of Kings Cross station in London and turn right along the Euston Road you arrive at the British Library. You can wander into a gallery and there laid out are all sorts of incredibly old books and important manuscripts. In a glass cases you can see one of earliest surviving manuscripts of the bible, the Codex Sinaiticus, which dates from the 4th century.
It includes the famous passages that we will read again this Christmas – the amazing account of the birth of Jesus, through whom God revealed his love for us.
Codex Sinaiticus is, in a way, a little like the bit of paper that Einstein wrote on: It points to a wonderful insight which helps us look at the world differently. This is a document which has changed the mankind and its truths are everywhere in Christmas cards, Christmas stamps and carols. Galleries around the world are full of images of the birth of this baby whose life and teaching has influenced every race, culture and people of the world
But here’s the difference. I’m not a scientist and don’t really understand Einstein’s equation, even though I know it is important. But the accounts in the bible are easily understood because God chose to reveal himself in a weak, vulnerable baby, who came and dwelt among ordinary folk.
This story is for all of us. Unlike Einstein’s papers you don’t need to have degrees in science to hear it and understand it. We just need to come humbly and ready to see and hear for ourselves the miracle of a human baby who reveals the love and power of God in full. And the story does have the power to transform us – if we let it. As the old carol puts it:
Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas, Star and angels gave the sign.