A Christmas Message

By The Very Revd Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich - 24 December 2018

Newborn babies tend to attract attention! A newborn was brought to a Cathedral service just a couple of weeks ago and at the end of the service he had drawn quite a crowd around him, cooing over him and admiring him. It’s somehow a human instinct to be filled with pleasure as we look at a tiny baby.

And why is that? For many of us an encounter such as this is a reminder of the wonder of life – the miracle of it all, especially as you look at tiny hands and perfectly formed minute finger nails. Then there is the huge potential that a new life represents – here before us is a brand new human being, as yet unblemished by all the things that will eventually test and trouble him or her – for now, there are no worries or responsibilities. Yet new born babies are utterly dependent upon others for their care and nurture, this is vulnerability at its extreme.

Those of us who have brought up children also know that the addition of a baby into your life, changes life for ever – not only does this new baby rely on you for everything, you are also completely attached through the invisible yet absolutely powerful bond of love.

At Christmas our thoughts are turned to a particular baby – Jesus, born around 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. Born to very ordinary parents, in small remote town, all those years ago and yet, what an impact his birth made and has continued to make on our world.

God might have chosen any number of means of breaking into the life of his world to draw people back to himself, but he chose to come in this tiny, vulnerable baby. A baby, who attracted attention from the very start of his life as first the excited shepherds were drawn to his manger, followed by exotic wise men bringing gifts from the East, and soon afterwards by the malevolent intentions of the wicked King Herod, forcing his parents to flee from their country and to become refugees.

As he grew up Jesus experienced all the ups and downs of being human, but even in these early months of his life he experienced the best and the worst of human behaviour from those around him.

As we think about his experiences, we can be assured at this Christmas time that whoever we are, whatever our hopes, concerns, fears, expectations or pressures in life, God is with us and wants to draw close to us.

So will we let ourselves be drawn and captivated by the baby whose birthday we are about to celebrate? Will we not only look and admire as we might when we see any newborn, but come closer and discover what became of him, how he changed the world forever and how he can change each one of us.

I wish you a truly happy Christmas.

Picture: Bill Smith

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