Christmas reflections by the Bishop of Connor

Wednesday December 18th 2013

A Christmas message from the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy.

Bishop Alan Abernethy speaking at diocesan synod in Yei, South Sudan, in January 2013.During this past year, I have met people from different parts of the world who have lived through the pain that is caused by human division, greed and conflict.

Then there are the natural disasters that leave so many lives devastated by death and loss. There are so many people who do not have a voice and find it hard for their cries to be heard.

We have witnessed the scenes on our television from the Philippines. It is difficult to imagine the sense of despair and hopelessness that so many are experiencing.

In the middle of this mess and chaos we sing the Christmas carols and hear again the message of the angels leading us to the manger and the “Word made flesh.” The message hasn’t changed but, perhaps, we have sanitised it by the images of beautiful scenes on Christmas cards.

God came into the mess, pain and chaos of the world: The young family quickly became refugees and immigrants; a young man gave support and love to a child that was not his own; a young lady allowed her reputation to be questioned; and a baby became vulnerable to the jealousy and rage of another king. In fact, many young babies were killed because of the anger and insecurity of this king. A few strangers travelled a long way to bring gifts. There were some shepherds who came to greet this baby and they were seen as some of the least important people in society.

God came into the mess on that first Christmas quietly and unobtrusively to declare a love and hope for all of creation. This is a message that makes sense to me because it declares that God became human to enable us to rediscover the image of God within all of us. He became one of us to enable us to become more like Him.

May you all know the presence of God with you and within you this Christmas.

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