Look For The Light This Christmas
When do you put your Christmas decorations up? Let us know in the comments!
Last weekend saw the official 2022 Tiverton Christmas Lights Switch-on and this week we are busy hanging lights and decorations at St Paul's, ready for our Christingle Service on Sunday! Here's our latest blog post from our Vicar, Andy about the brightest light of all this Christmas.
It's time to dust off the Christmas albums, saying that of course shows my age! I should rephrase it to ensuring my Christmas playlist is up to date.
I love listening to Christmas music, an eclectic taste, from Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey with a good bit of Slade thrown in for good measure. However last week the words of "O come, O come, Immanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear" – was like an ear worm. As I listened it felt like Advent had begun. A time of watching and waiting for the light of Christ.
A friend of mine is a song writer, a few years ago he wrote a song based on John 1:
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God.
And everything that has been made has been made through him, nothing made without him.
In him was life, that life was light for everyone. The darkness tries, but the light will not be overcome.
We are waiting for the light! Yet Christmas so often is about an event, rather than recognising the whole reason in the grand narrative of time. What are you going to do, who is coming, what are you doing Boxing Day? It should not be about one day!
I suspect our lives are (generally speaking) event driven. We tend to live our lives from one event to the next. If you don’t think so, take a look at your calendar. It is a schedule of events. Our days are full of events and if there is a day or two with no scheduled events then we say things like, “Nothing is going on that day,” or “I am not doing anything that day,” as if there is no life, nothing to learn or discover, nothing to experience on those days. How different is John’s (The writer of the book of John in the Bible) understanding of Christmas, life, and humanity.
'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.'
This, for John, is the Christmas story and it is set in the context of creation, 'In the beginning.' Creation is not an event of the past but the ongoing life of God with his people. It echoes and continues the Genesis story of creation, 'In the beginning God said, "Let there be…" and there was...' land, sky, vegetation, living creatures from the water, birds of the air, living creatures from the earth, and humankind made in the image and likeness of God.
Christmas is God continuing to give life to his people. 'And the Word became flesh and lived among us.' Christmas, says St. Gregory of Nyssa, is the “festival of re-creation.” It is God giving God’s own life to his people. It is as if God said, “I want humanity to see my face. I want them to hear my voice. I want them to touch me. I want them to smell my sweat. I want them to eat my body. I want to live their life. I want them to live my life.” “And the word became flesh and lived among us.” This is God in the flesh, the divine human, holy humanity.
This festival of re-creation is God’s celebration of humanity. It is God entrusting God’s self to human beings, to you and to me.
How beautiful is that? Imagine what that means for us. It means we are holy and intended to be holy, not as an achievement on our own but as a gift of God.
Let's look for and welcome the light this Christmas.
Click here to listen to In the Beginning by Joel Payne of Resound Worship.
Join us for our Christingle Service this Sunday, 10:45am at St Paul's, Tiverton