A message from Duncan:
‘they laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for him in the inn.’
These well-known words, so often retold in countless Nativity Plays acted out in churches and schools around the world at this time of year, are all too easy to say aren’t they. Mary gives birth to the Son of God, in a draughty outhouse and makes a cot for him by using the animals’ feeding trough, because there was no room for them anywhere else.
These days, if something like that happened here in this country, there’d be an outrage. It would be in all the headlines, on the TV news and would spread like wildfire around social media – and rightly so of course!
However, there are so many parts of the world – today – where this occurrence would not make the headlines, because it could happen all too frequently. Either because of some natural disaster, such as the Tsunami and earthquake in Indonesia, or because of warfare or conflict such as in places like Yemen.
Again though, this is all too easy to mention, but however often we hear about these horrific situations, we should never lose sight of the fact that those who are most afflicted are innocent human beings – like you or me. They have done no harm to anyone, are just trying to live peaceful lives with their families and friends – like you or me.
And yet these awful situations continue repeat themselves over and over again. Which is why God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to live as one of us. To be born into hardship, poverty and danger. To experience all that it means to be human – not through privileged riches, but by beginning life with nowhere to lay his head. And at the end of his life, he died a terrible, unwarranted death on a rough wooden cross, alone, being beaten and mocked. But through unimaginable love, he rose to new life. He forgave his enemies, and gave all of us the hope of a new life in God’s creation.
So as we enjoy the celebrations of Christmas and new year, please give a thought for those abroad and nearer to home who may not have a bed to lay in, or food to eat, or may be sheltering from yet another aerial bombardment. Or, like the residents of Holcroft House, right here in Thornhill, who face an uncertain future. But don’t just think about it, try to do something to make a difference – think about filling a shoebox next Christmas, joining the St Christopher’s Birthday Fund (mentioned in a previous edition of St Christopher’s News) to send relief aid to emergency appeals as they arise, contributing a little regularly to our Basics Bank boxes, or toiletries for the Salvation Army for the homeless during December, signing one of the petitions around the estate to protest at the proposed closure of Holcroft House and the impact this could have on so many vulnerable residents.
For when we do something positive to help those in greater need, we are following in the way of Jesus, the Christ-child who ‘was laid in a manger, because there was no room in the inn’.
With love and blessings
for a Happy Christmas and a peace-filled new year,