Dear Sisters and Brothers,
It was St Francis of Assisi who reawakened the Church to the festival of Christmas, because it reminds us of the incarnation of God in Jesus. The Church had focussed on Easter but Francis recognized that Easter could not happen without Christmas, no redemption without incarnation.
Incarnation is not an easy theological theme to weave in among angels and shepherds, wise men and donkeys, holly and candles, carols and readings, turkey and tinsel. In fact the Christ child often seems somewhat insignificant among all the other trappings, and therein lies the point.
Jesus arrives and is lost in a strange town where nowhere can be found for his mother to give birth. Jesus arrives and is lost among the razzmatazz of angels singing. Jesus arrives and is lost among the wealth of the Magi’s presents. Jesus arrives and is lost in the confusion of a hasty flight to Egypt. Jesus arrives and is lost, because that is what life does to the poor and dispossessed, to the children of refugees and those who are homeless, they are lost.
In the incarnation our God experiences the lostness of us all. Where glamour, wealth or power leave us feeling vulnerable and unimportant. This is the life into which Jesus is born, not to remain lost but to bring new life to those who are lost and lonely, who feel that they are unseen by the world. For God does see them and notes their plight, and creeps in alongside them, unimportant and lost that they may be found.
In our Covenant Service we will renew our commitment to follow this God of the lost, our commitment to be placed alongside whoever God chooses for us. We know that this will often mean the poor and dispossessed, those who have been rejected or ignored by our society. I know there are those who choose to avoid the Covenant Service because it is too demanding, as if God will not continue to make those demands whether we attend or not. I hope and pray that they may find their way to commit to the God who loves us so much that he gave his only Son because experiencing that love is worth everything.
May you have a very happy Christmas and New Year.
Your brother in Christ,