Message from Bishop Robert, 12 December 2023

Published: Tuesday December 12, 2023

Bishop RobertThe business of waiting….

We are now firmly in these days that are Christmas and yet, of course, not quite Christmas yet. In church, there are still two more candles to light on the Advent crown, while already we welcome so many to sing carols and hear again the message of the angels.

In our high streets, we are tempted with still more that we might just get for when the moment comes and children, of course, who understand much better than we, are anticipating a visit from Father Christmas…. It really is Christmas all around, but it is not yet.

What unites all these things is our confidence that Christmas, which is not yet, will come. The shops will close finally on Christmas Eve and the high street will go quiet. On Christmas morning, children will open presents and in church finally we will sing ‘yea Lord we greet thee born this happy morning’ as Jesus Christ is born among us and we will hear in the words of John’s Gospel that the light shines in the darkness.

It is precisely because of this, that it is Christmas but not yet, that these are precious and deeply hopeful days for our whole ‘world groaning in labour pains’ (Romans 8:22). Knowing that it should be different, we also know that with God, who sends his Son, it will be different and that because of this even though it is not yet, we are set free to live as if it is! We can celebrate, confidently, joyfully, even in the not yet.

We see this, of course, most especially in the Eucharist and it should be no surprise that this is where our celebration truly begins, in the dark hours of Christmas night itself. The Eucharist brings all that God has done in Jesus, his birth, death resurrection, right to the present, and propels us forward to the great feast (Matthew 26:26f) when we will drink anew in the Father’s Kingdom. It is the Eucharist that unites past, present and future with a foretaste of what will be as we join with all God’s people in the heavenly banquet.

So it may not yet be Christmas, but I pray we may, nonetheless, join without hesitation in the celebration of God’s people, in the high street, homes and so many places in our communities, as we share the joy of what will be, what we are invited to know in Jesus Christ, of the possibilities promised of a world and lives transformed.

Bishop Robert's signature




See also:

Bishop Robert’s message for schools

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