The Nativity: Protection and Promise

by Michael Ford last modified 24 Dec, 2010 11:09 AM

The Bishop of Sherborne, Dr Graham Kings, contrasts God’s promises to the Virgin Mary with the threats to her safety in his Christmas addresses.

Dr Kings will be preaching at the Midnight Communion service at Iwerne Minster, near Blandford Forum,  on Christmas Eve, and at St Bartholemew’s parish church, Shapwick, near Wimborne, on Christmas Day at 10.30am.


The bishop has been inspired by the beauty and power of the BBC 2010 Christmas series, The Nativity, broadcast over four evenings in the week before Christmas on BBC One.


In particular Dr Kings is impressed by the way the Christmas story has transformed Tony Jordan, the script writer of East Enders, who also wrote The Nativity.


In a Daily Telegraph interview, Jordan says, ‘"I don't come from a religious background, and I don't think I'm anybody's fool. I know that people from my sort of background have always discounted the story of the nativity and I certainly didn't believe it when I started on it three years ago. But now I do."


The bishop has responded to Jordan’s down to earth portrayal of the gospel account of the birth of Jesus by being drawn to the dangers faced by Mary as a teenage unmarried mother, which are in stark contrast to the promises made to her by God.


He has written a poem which he will use on Christmas Day, entitled The Nativity: Protection and Promise.


Mary was led out of Nazareth,

for her protection from prying eyes,

as her waist grew,

to stay with Elizabeth

for promise fulfilment

and peaceful pondering.


Mary was led out of Nazareth,

for her protection from flying stones,

as the day drew near,

to travel with Joseph

for Bethlehem’s promise

and painful birth.


Mary was led out of Bethlehem,

for their protection from piercing swords,

as her son grew,

to live in Egypt:

replaying memory

and pattern of promise.


 Dr Kings will also be drawing attention to the threats to the safety and welfare of the people of Sudan, where southerners will vote in a referendum on January 9th on whether to secede to form a separate nation. He has written an article for The Guardian published on 23 December, which can be read by clicking here.

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