A Christmas reflection from Bishop John Sherrington.
A wonderful scene occurs every Christmas morning when children run up to the crib and look inside at the baby in the manger along with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the animals. Faces light up with delight and puzzlement trying to understand what has happened and the depth of meaning of this scene.
Repeated across the world in homes and churches, it is a scene before which only the most hardened of hearts will not be moved. The children’s joyful faces reveal the gift of the Christ Child given to us. Naturally we bow down and worship.
God in his infinite mercy has reached down from heaven and entered into human flesh so that he will save his chosen people. Into the world of human misery caused by sin and selfishness, God has given us a Redeemer so that we might find hope.
This year many Christians will gather in churches and long with all their hearts for peace and freedom from conflict and violence. Many others will yearn for food, shelter and an end to the exile from their homeland as refugees displaced by brutal conflict. In our relative security, we gather and thank God for the gift which makes us his adopted children and gives us a new dignity.
We proclaim again the ‘worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities’ (LS 117) who through the Incarnation has the dignity as a child of God. When we fail to recognise the gift of the Christ Child in the manger, we lose sight of the meaning of human life.
May Mary the Mother of Mercy help us to see the face of her Son and to turn her eyes of mercy towards us.
Bishop John Sherrington