Message from the chaplain: 2 December 2020
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!”
- Luke 2:8-14 (NRSV)
Sunday 29 November marked Advent Sunday, the first Sunday of the Advent season leading up to Christmas. Advent is a season of preparation – of waiting and watching for Christ’s coming – both to be born as a baby at Christmas as per our Bible reading above but, also, a reference to Christ’s second coming that is yet to come. There is therefore a seriousness to the season but also a brimming excitement, because we know the joy that comes next: a baby is born, and one who is the Son of God Most High!
In this difficult year, so many of the moments in which I have been most aware of Christ with us, feature children. How apt and beautiful that the sign of God Immanuel (God-with-us) to the shepherds and to us at Christmas time is just that: a child.
The year 2020 has been a year in which we have all had to be vulnerable in many ways. God-born-as-man was born the epitome of vulnerability: a helpless baby, who grew under his parents’ care. Godwith- us understands, deeply, what we feel.
With the vulnerability of a baby comes the playfulness of a child, the endearing moments of growing up, the wonder at how far the child has come over time and how much growth is evident. To play, to wonder and marvel at, and to enjoy this child is also for us to be vulnerable. Joy is a vulnerable thing. To welcome the Christ-child into
our lives this Christmas, is to be joyous - and thank God that we can do this.
Revd Claudia Coustas