The come from near and far, in the dark night or early morn, to hear again the story of God made Man; The greatest story ever told.
Believers, non-believers and skeptics, they come to cathedral or village church, sitting within walls washed with prayer, in the stillness of the Christ Child.
As our Advent journey draws to a close, we watch together through the gospel story, as a pregnant teenager and a weary husband search for somewhere to stay. The heavenly message to these refugees and to us, is always, ‘Do not be afraid’. The Angel Gabriel speaks to Mary and the shepherds to inform them that the Messiah is soon to be born and at Christmas a new light shines out of Bethlehem. The God of the universe has taken flesh in the Christ Child to walk alongside us, to share our pain and show the world a love that overcomes fear. God communicates with us through his Son and shows us what it means to become vulnerable and dependent upon God once again. Our culture calls us to independence amongst the gods of wealth, celebrity, body-beautiful and self, yet God calls us to a new relationship with him, through the Christ Child.
How do you respond? Do you turn away the refugee family desperate for shelter? Or do you respond in a different way , a way that acknowledges your own vulnerability as a child of God and responds in love to the call to feed the hungry , clothe the naked and comfort the afflicted? This is the challenge the Christ Child brings, each and every day.
‘Do not be afraid’. At Christmas a new light shines out of Bethlehem. The light brings with it the promise that darkness will never triumph over us, and that hope and life will shine in, and through that light.
It is a stillness that falls over the Earth, as God is born of Mary. It is the stillness that remains, after everything we thought was important, has fallen away.