A message from The Rev’d Lyn McRostie, Rector of Northwood.

Posted by Admin on 23 November 2007, 12:00 am

My sister’s step-daughter recently had a baby. He has been much desired, long awaited but he was born early and has had to stay in hospital for several weeks. This has caused much consternation and anxiety. What are the implications, we have all asked? Will he be healthy? Will he be able to live a normal life? Do we have to treat him differently from other children? Fortunately he has done well and he is now at home and thriving.  And like all first-born children he has created a revolution in his parents’ lives. No more casual outings on a whim; everything is regulated by the baby’s needs. His father, being a new man, shares in the night-time feeds and changes nappies. His mother is grateful for the opportunity to clutch at a little more sleep… Even so, his parents delight in him. As they look at him sleeping it seems impossible that he will grow to an adult man, taller than his mother, probably also than his father. And so they stand together, praying that he will grow and make his own unique contribution to the world.

In Luke’s gospel we read the story of another child whose influence on the world has been profound. Every year we remember his birth in Nativity plays, Christingle services and Midnight Masses; we give each other gifts in memory of the great gift that he has been to us. Through so many centuries, through so many generations, we have celebrated his birth, his death, his resurrection, his gift of eternal life. The Christian story is so familiar I wonder whether we sometimes take it for granted. Perhaps now it is time to take stock of where we are, to say thank you for the gift we have received in Christ and to expose ourselves to new responsibilities.

For those of us who have grown up as Christians the challenge is this – how can we take the delight, the pleasure, the joy of the Christian story to people to whom it is increasingly unfamiliar? For people who are less aware of the Christian story, perhaps intrigued by it, perhaps curious, perhaps dismissive, what are your questions that we need to address? Please let me know. Please let your Christian friends know because we would be delighted to talk it over with you.

If I may give you all one gift at Christmas, it is this. Christ and all that he promises is not a pipe-dream. He is real; his promises are real. Lovingly he reaches out to us and asks us to respond to him. Are we able to respond in gentleness to him as we would to a frail and vulnerable child?

This is the crux. Many of us know the end of Jesus’ tale. We know the sadness that is to come but also the hope. And as the child grows into the man, there is also room for us to grow. Let us be committed to going into the new year spiritually renewed. I hope that we can promise anew that we will do all that we can in our lives to be more faithful to him and to bring our experiences of him to the rest of the world.

With my love and prayers for you all at Christmas …


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