From The Rev'd Andy Davis
The Revd Andy Davis BSc BD
Priest-in-Charge of the Parish of Holy Trinity, Bramley (Diocese of Guildford)
Bramley Vicarage, 1 Birtley Rise, Bramley, GU5 0HZ
Mobile: 07709 919602 Landline: 01483 892109 revd.andydavis@gmail.
Not a Good Christmas…
For this fragile planet on which we live this has been a year filled with darkness: first and foremost, of course, the devastation brought by Covid-19, which has exacerbated all the already existing global problems: ongoing poverty; armed conflict in so many places; many peoples’ lives devastated by extreme weather; the challenging issues of mass migration...and many other things.
With all this going on, is there any sense in regarding Christmas as a Christian festival, or should it just become a superficial expression of escapism, even if it has to be done socially distanced, and online this year? We in the ‘advanced’ or ‘First World’ usually celebrate Christmas with indulgence of all kinds. But if you have ever been lucky enough to be in a poorer country when Christmas is celebrated, you would have witnessed an infectious and deep joy – particularly from those who embrace Christ – not as a comfort blanket, but as the embodiment of life, joy, hope and sorrow truly shared.
I cannot begin to understand (or accept) why there is so much pointless and terrible suffering in this world. But neither can I ignore the call that touches my heart and mind, and whispers through the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people, both here and abroad – a call from the deepest part of my being and from within and beyond this awesome universe. It is a call both eternal and mystical, but also all-too human. It is a call from a cross (amidst unbelievable anguish and pain) and from the other side of an empty tomb (where love cannot die) and it will call to us all – gently but passionately around December 25th – from a dirty manger in a stinking, poverty=ridden stable.
To answer it does not mean deliverance from pain, from doubt, from selfishness. But to answer it can stir within us hope, love and joy, and whisper that there is less that we need to be able to live, to truly live, than we realised. Above all, to answer this ‘still, small voice’ is to begin NOT to see someone before us who is older, or younger, or black, or white, an enemy or an ‘outsider’, or even ‘that pain in the neck’. It is to see a unique and precious human being, whose life has as much eternal significance as the life that lies within that manger.
O God, the source of all insight, whose coming was revealed to the nations not among men of power but on a woman’s lap; give us grace to seek you where you may be found, that the wisdom of this world may be humbled And discover your unexpected joy, through Jesus Christ, Amen. (Janet Morley)
May we all discover how Christmas can be truly happy.