December 2018 – January 2019
My dear Friends,
And in the sixth month
…. the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. Luke 1: 26-27
The opening two chapters of Luke’s Gospel (and if you don’t have a Bible, there are plenty of free copies of the Gospel in the church), is presented as a series of journeys as Luke writes about the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus. Radiant in both writing and imagery Luke wants to draw us into his account. He writes like this because he wants the reader to understand that the unfolding journey of faith found in the Hebrew Scriptures – the Old Testament – finds its ultimate destination and answer in the face of Jesus. Hence these transformational and vivid accounts.
From them we have also have four great ‘songs’ which are used in Christian worship: the Magnificat (the Song of Mary), the Gloria (the Song of the angels), the Nunc Dimittis (the Song of Simeon) and the Benedictus (the Song of Zechariah). All four are powerful reflections about what Jesus will bring to the world through his ministry and life. The Benedictus talks of ‘the dayspring from on high, [which] will break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’
What does this mean here and now in Cuckfield? The Christian Faith is none other than the radical call to New Life; a new way of looking at the world together with the way we interact with other people. It talks of the ultimate unity of all people – regardless of creed, colour or any other aspect of their lives, all are bound up in a call to God’s transforming love, united to our humanity in the face of Jesus. Jesus gives himself for each of us to draw us into lives of Resurrection, touching others’ lives with the knowledge of the light of God’s love and transforming our own lives at the same time.
My friends, as you journey through this season, enjoy all it brings: from tinsel to turkey, gifts received and given and all else, but above all rejoice that the Feast of Christmas is a celebration which belongs to the whole of creation. It is the birthday of Jesus.