First Word December 2019/January 2020


The Mystery of Christmas: Like all the great facts of life – birth, pain, death, love – the birth of Christ confronts us with a great mystery. Somehow God, who is the ground of our being and yet beyond our full comprehension, was in Christ, in that child of Bethlehem and in the man he grew up to be. The man of Nazareth was God and God that man. Many have tried to explain it; yards of books have been written to unpack it but ultimately it remains a mystery. In that God in Christ is eternal love, at one with us in our humanity in all its joy and in all its pain. Many have rejected him through the ages declaring nothing has changed and so hope is diminished and help and companionship tossed to one side. For those who have accepted him, believed in him a new world is opened up, a new lease of life is offered and as we take up the mystery of all that is beyond us so we can greet each new day held in the love of God for we are held in the hollow of his hand and he embraces us with love in our pain and in our joy. In the child of Bethlehem and the man of Calvary we see the totality of our humanity. In the gifts of Kings we see the glory of kingship in the gold of crowns, we see the divinity of God in the incense bearing our prayers before the heavenly throne and in the bitterness of myrrh we see foretold the pain and agony of the cross. We are at the heart of the mystery for God raises us from earth to heaven as he stoops from heaven to earth; in that man who is both the babe of new birth and the crucified man of the cross. As we confront the mysteries of our humanity in war zones, in natural disaster, in politics and daily living; in the poor and the oppressed; the loved and the unloved; the accepted and the abandoned; we look in hope for the coming of the kingdom and the transfiguring power of the Spirit to make all things new. May God bless each one of us at this Christmastide and grant us generous hearts and fresh hope as we enter into a new year. Fr. Stuart Nairn.