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Home Who's who Bishops The Bishop of Salisbury Sermons, articles, and speeches "Christmas Stories", December 2015

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"Christmas Stories", December 2015

by glynch — last modified 17 Dec, 2015 09:00 PM

Some thoughts from Bishop Nicholas, originally penned for the Salisbury Journal

Christmas is for the children, or so it is said. The stories told are of a baby born long ago and far away to parents who wondered at their beautiful gift and awesome responsibility. A not very commercially minded inn-keeper gave them generous hospitality. Angels appeared to shepherds, on the hills outside the town. Ordinary working people were the first to visit but they were followed by strangers from the East who had been following a star. People are led to this baby in whom they see God.

Listen carefully because there is also a much harder edge of adult only content. This is about a young girl, not yet married, who fell pregnant. Her man stayed by her because he thought there was something Divine going on. Travelling to Bethlehem because of a census they were homeless when her waters broke. Thank God they were given the warmth and hospitality of a stable where the baby was born. All sorts of people came to visit, some rough working men and some foreigners who looked, smelt and spoke different. People had high hopes for this child but the rulers thought this little life full of love was a threat. The family had to flee like refugees to Egypt until things had calmed down. When they came back the boy grew into a man who served others, healed the sick, gave sight to the blind and showed what it really meant to love God and love your neighbour as yourself. Jesus was such a threat to the political and religious authorities that they took him out and neutralised him.

Thank God a life of love, truth, peace, justice doesn’t end. That really is worth celebrating in our good but sometimes very dark world.

Happy Christmas.

+Nicholas Sarum

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