Steve, our SD, writes about a favourite carol and the immense importance of seeing the whole message of the birth of our Lord Jesus at Christmas. As Steve reminds us, it is important that we look beyond the manger and reflect what is to come for us as well as Jesus as we live out our lives. But first, let us take a few moments to listen to the Choir of Kings College Cambridge singing:
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I have been struck this year by the carols that refer also to the final Passion of Jesus in holy week, often combined with a sweet syrupy tune that is lovely to sing and brings a calming influence to troubled brains. Only it’s a bit troubling at first when it hits you – ‘Sing lullaby. Hush, do not wake the Infant King, Angels are watching, stars are shining, over the place where he is lying, Sing lullaby’ is so sweet, and yet it moves on to, ‘Lullaby baby, now a-sleeping, do not wake the Infant King, Soon will come sorrow with the morning, Soon will come bitter grief and weeping, Sing lullaby’. And the next verse spells out what is going to cause the grief and weeping, ‘Soon comes the cross, the nails, the piercing, Then in the grave at last reposing, Sing lullaby’. But what’s all this doing in a Christmas song?!Christmas traditions have always seen the crucifixion looming over the horizon. The Christmas experience is so weak if all we enter into is the miracle and indescribable sweetness and delight of a brand new little human entering the world. The great pain of child birth heralds a glorious miracle. If you add the pain of Jesus passion to the birth stories we read at Christmas time, then the pains of his passion herald the birth of another glorious miracle: your own second birth. This birth we celebrate heralds our own birth! Life is coming, our life! ‘Sing lullaby, Hush, do not wake the Infant King, Dreaming of Easter, gladsome morning, Conquering death, its bondage breaking, Sing lullaby.’
To put all that into the sleeping baby in the manger takes my breath away! And yet, is it not there in our story, both the one we read and the one we live?
I wish you all the very best for Christmas and the New Year and pray that through prayer, study and action you may be a source of peace in our troubled world ?Steve