Many of us look forward to Christmas because it seems to offer a message of peace and goodwill, which the world is asked to remember and live out, at least for a season. We imagine the good company of family and or friends, of cheer and giving, of eating and celebrating. It’s a feel good time. This reality comes to us each year, but it is always tinged with some reminder of the harshness of the so called real world which we are told is very different from the world of the Christmas story. But it isn’t different.
The real world was very much the context for the first Christmas: A family without family or friends support trudging through the winter’s night like refugees, with no known accommodation to begin with; ending up in place where animals feed where the birth of the child happens, afterwards the threat of Herod’s genocidal soldiers which meant they had to flee for their lives. This is a stressful, dangerous and even humiliating scene in a way, and yet God is born into it, in great humility and vulnerability.
Through the birth of Jesus the Christ, the light of the world, Love came though at Christmas in the midst of our realities, in the centre of the real world. This means that if your Christmas brings you challenges or the so called real world impinges in some way, you can take it deep into your prayer that day, and say “Through these anxieties and challenges I am with you lord, in your life as you live it, with your realities”.
When you do this you can be given a peace from God which the world cannot give, and that is the real message of Christmas, that God is completely with us, as we are with God, in this world we know, no matter what. The measure of mercy and peace that this faith gives is a resilient and robust faith, which is a transforming gift; the best Christmas present of all, to begin a year full of grace and mercy: Bidden or not bidden God is present, God is your present.
The Anglican Centre in Rome is a UK
Charity with a world-wide mission.
Interim Director: The Very Revd Dr John Shepherd
Deputy Director: Revd Dr Justin Lewis-Anthony
The Anglican Centre in Rome,
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj,
Piazza del Collegio Romano 2,
00186 Roma, Italy.
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