Christmas is a time when we look back and forward at the same time.
We look back to the events of that first Christmas when God became flesh and dwelt among us. It’s a mind boggling idea isn’t it? How could the God who made the universe and everything in it lower himself, limit himself, to such a degree that he’d be born as a helpless baby.
But we also look back at the year that’s just been. We remember the triumphs and the disappointments, the successes and the failures, the joy and the sadness. For some, including myself, there has been great sadness as loved ones have died. Yet there has also been great joy in new births, at weddings and other celebrations, and as a church in seeing people come to faith or grow in their faith.
The events of Christmas also help us look forward to the fulfilment of God’s plan to bring all people together under the Lordship of Christ. We rejoice in our own involvement in that plan, first as some of those who call Jesus Lord, but also as the ones charged with carrying out that plan, of sharing the gospel with those around us.
As a church we look forward to the year to come, to deepening our relationships with one another, to growing our relationship with the people of St James and of course to seeing our new building take shape. The year to come holds great hope but our true hope is in the love and grace of God who has chosen us to be his people in this place.
And so another year fades to an end
but then that fading light is overwhelmed
by radiance of memory once again
an uncommon birth in a common stable
the divine indwells the profane
light enters the darkness
a light that will never be quenched
a helpless child
whose fingers once shaped the universe
God exchanges infinity for humanity
and all our futures are turned around
in this divine exchange
hope for hopelessness
meaning for futility
reconciliation for alienation
and so we turn to face a new year
once again renewed and reassured
that God is with us and knows us
has shared our humanity.
Di and I wish you all a very happy Christmas, filled with God’s blessing. May God fill you with all good things this Christmas, enabling you to serve him to the full in the year to come.
Chris & Di