We are living through times of exceptional difficulty at present. The murder of 24 worshippers in St Mark’s Christian Coptic Cathedral in Cairo is only the latest in a series of horrors.
We look through all that suffering and try to find ways of identifying with it and so we reach for symbols. A candle has become a symbol of our care about the suffering of the people of Aleppo in Syria. The Lampedusa Cross was made from the fragments of smashed boats of the migrants who perished on the journey across the Mediterranean to the island of Lampedusa. And a cross somehow links it to the suffering of Jesus.
You might think that in a world like this, our politics and our care would be about the homeless and the stateless, about human rights and compassion; but actually we seem to be living in a period of fear, and division, and even hatred in our politics.
The world into which Jesus was born was not so very different from this. The birth of any child is a sort of miracle – a miracle when potential meets helpless vulnerable human life. God’s sending of His son, Jesus, as a vulnerable child born in the stable in Bethlehem, is a sign of His determination that the world will be saved; but saved by the power of love – and that alone.
This Christmas, I send to you and your loved ones, near and far, my hopes that you will have a very happy and peaceful time together.