Beyond the sentimental

Reflections and Prayers for Christmas Day and Sunday 30 December

The Gospel readings for Christmas Day are Luke 2.1-14 and John 1.1-14

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is Luke 2.41-52

The Christmas story leaves us with no room to believe our religion is an “other-worldly” faith!  The world-to-come is born in the mess of the world-as-it-is: the story tells us of the decrees of a hated occupying power (as the Romans force all their subject people to register for a poll tax); of displaced peoples (who soon have to flee to Egypt as refugees); and of homelessness.  It is a story of upheaval, powerlessness and insecurity.  And its in the midst of all of this that heaven comes to earth.

After Christmas, the church celebrates the Feast of St Stephen (the first martyr) on 26th, remembers the Holy Innocents (the Hebrew children slaughtered by Herod, because he fears the Christ-child will be a rival King) on 28th and celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family on Sunday 30th.

Each of these days reinforces the un-sentimental nature of the Christmas story.  Christmas joy, Christian joy, is not about a turning away from the pain of the world into an escapist fantasy.  The joy of the Christmas story is that nowhere in creation is beyond God’s concern, and God’s redeeming work.

Prayer intentions

Pray for all Christian social projects which offer shelter, food and companionship to those in greatest need this Christmastide.

Resources

CTC has produced short film and sermon notes for the Feast of the Epiphany – connecting the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt with the experience of refugee children in the UK today – for The Children’s Society.

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