Rev James Bamber
One day a diver was enjoying the world beneath the surface of the ocean when he noticed a person at the same depth as he was but without any scuba gear whatsoever. The diver went down another 20ft, but the other man joined him a few moments later. The diver went another 25 feet, but soon, the same man joined him. This puzzled the diver so he took out a waterproof white-board and pen, and wrote, "How on earth are you able to stay under the water at this depth without any equipment?" The man took the board, rubbed out the question and wrote, "I'm drowning you fool!"
How easily we overlook the obvious! Perhaps this is more evident through Advent and Christmas. It may not only be those beyond our thresholds who miss the significance of Jesus' birth. In wider society it appears Christmas is becoming more and more commercialised with fewer people understanding why we celebrate the festival at all. Within the Church too there is a danger that we forget what Christmas is really all about, what it cost God to come among us and we can take the birth of Jesus for granted. We can sentimentalise Christmas and forget the harsh reality that faced Mary, Joseph and many others at the time of Christ's birth. We may also forget our calling to share the wonderful news we have with those on the margins and beyond the family of the Church who are yearning to know that someone loves them, as they are, where they are.
As the stars shine in the night sky so may the light on Christ shine in our hearts this Christmastide and always. May we worship Christ and not Christmas and so be part of realising here and now the promise captured by St. Matthew, "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" — which means, "God with us." (Matthew 1: 23).
With my love and prayers,
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