Thought for Christmas: The Light within our broken world
I have just attended my fourth Nativity play this Advent and begun to think through my Christmas homilies. At the heart of Christmas, we are presented with a present, a present of infinite value, not wrapped in paper, but rather in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger. It is the gift of God Himself, God who made Himself tangible, accessible, and knowable, becoming human in all ways but sin. It is the ultimate gift of love.
As we reflect on the familiar story, there is the danger of reducing it to a romanticised fairytale. The reality, however, was anything but idyllic, the truly astonishing and incomprehensible event opening up for each of us the possibility of sharing the same relationship with God the Father that Jesus Himself has.
When we look at the figure of Jesus in the crib, we see concentrated within that tiny, helpless child, the whole mystery of God. The arms of Jesus are normally outstretched, the stance of a child seeking the comfort of their mother. But those arms are also pointing towards us, offering each of us the embrace of perfect love, a hug from God. On a third level, those outstretched arms point towards the cross. There is an intimate link between crib and cross, neither making sense without the other. The essence of the crib, or more specifically the Incarnation, is that ‘God became a human’, so that through the cross, Jesus’ death and Resurrection, we ‘humans might share in the life of God’.
Jesus came and shattered the darkness of our broken world, bringing light, hope, and great joy. This is absolutely cause for celebration, but also a call to pray, that the Light of Christ may bring peace and comfort to our still-broken world: to war-torn Gaza and Ukraine, to refugees, and the many we encounter who struggle in the world of today.
May I wish you all a very blessed, peaceful, and Christocentric Christmas. It is a season in which we realise how much we are loved, “for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
***The picture shown is the Crib outside Saint Hugh of Lincoln Church, Knaphill
Fr. Nick Harden, member of the Christian faith
Catholic Priest of St. Dunstan’s, Woking and St. Hugh of Lincoln, Knaphill.
Date: Monday 25th December 2023