Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ – is an essential part of the faith named after him, which is my faith. There had to be a birth for there to be a death, and a death before a resurrection – the founding event of this faith. Each passing year, we tell (and sing) this story to each other, and anyone who will listen. It is rightly treasured. It has been embellished to draw out its layers of meaning, to surmount differences in the Bible’s accounts, and to relate it more closely to our daily lives.
I wonder whether all our faiths have a founding story. My knowledge is too limited, but I believe so. A story that has been and is told and retold, treasured, developed, venerated (and in some faiths but not all, depicted). Do people of faith all find God through story – through a particular account of human experience interacting with the divine, the unknowable creator of all that is?
In Woking People of Faith, we try to hear with respect the stories of each other’s faiths. This brings out how much we have in common. Through our different stories, we all share the sense of the unknowable creator. Also, each of our stories is about people, and because their story is important to us it shows that we share a common humanity – a humanity in which empathy for others and their lived experience is more important than theory or doctrine.
Let us acknowledge the place of story for each of our faiths. Let us also share our common humanity and our sense of the unknowable God. Also, as each does best, let us rejoice in what we share while we hold to the value of our own faith’s story.
Allow me, therefore, to wish you a Happy Christmas.
Richard Hay, member of the Christian faith
Date: Monday 20th December 2021