When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:41)
As I explore the Christmas narrative afresh this season I am struck by the unpredictable nature of our God. The Jewish people had waited for centuries for a Messiah, but who would have thought the Saviour would be born in a stable in a backwater village, to parents of low socio-economic status. No one was expecting this kind of redemption.
It strikes me that God is always at work, but often in ways that people (even people of faith) easily miss. With the benefit of hindsight, the Gospel writers were able to place Jesus’ birth narratives within the framework of Messianic prophecy. This is a good time to look over our lives this year – can we recognise the pattern of God’s hand at work, even if we couldn’t see it at the time? Let us give thanks for our Saviour’s constant care and boundless fidelity.
In their treatment of Jesus’ birth, the Gospel writers also looked forward to new beginnings, and I have been wondering how our pre-conceived ideas of God limit us from enjoying what God is really doing in the here and now. May our exploration of the Christmas story this year help us all to move away from any dysfunctional or culturally-trapped images we may hold of God, and experience the healing necessary to allow our lives to be open to God’s joy.
Jenny and I thank you all so much for your tireless and faithful service over 2015, and safe travels to you all if you are on the road this season. May this holiday period be a time of refreshment and restoration; at the same time keeping our eyes open to the needs of our neighbours and with hearts of generous hospitality.
There will be no Bishop’s Letter in January