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Opening THE Book with Rev John K-S December 2021

REV JOHN K-S 05-2021Rev John Kinchin-Smith
Assistant Minister, St Andrew’s Church, Gorleston


The Christmas story, the birth of Jesus, is found in Luke’s and Matthew’s Gospels, chapters 1-2. But how many of us will make the connections with our real everyday life or as it comes into our homes through our newspapers or televisions?
Think of the shepherds, for example, poor rural working folk - no prospects, low income, and harsh conditions. This addresses the harsh economic realities of the workplace and speaks to all who face a bleak or boring future or an empty retirement
The animals in the stable were traditionally an ox and an ass, not cuddly pets but working animals. They speak to us of the truly important issues of rural life today: poverty and isolation, low incomes, high unemployment, struggling farms, lack of transport, the closure of schools, shops and post-offices
Then there are Mary, probably a teenager, and Joseph, who will be stepfather to Mary’s child. This speaks to every broken family and struggling home. Add to this the squalour of the setting of the child’s birth and we see the situation of the world’s poorest people
One could go on to speak of those strange wise men with their eyes on the stars, reminding us of all those who look for hope or meaning in ‘new age’ or occult ways, yet who found their inner yearning finally satisfied in a small child; or of the wrath of king Herod forcing the family to become refugees, reminding us of the harsh realities faced by so many in other parts of the world
Such was the setting of the birth of Jesus. And yet the birth was attended by glory, too. Above the hills surrounding the small town of Bethlehem we are told that the sky was briefly lit by awesome light, armies of angels and heavenly music. For this was how God chose to come to the children of his creation, not avoiding their misery and hopelessness, but coming right down into it in order to share it and to make a difference
Whatever circumstance we find ourselves in, however hopeless or grave our situation or that of the world appears to be, the Christmas story connects if we have eyes to see. For somehow in that manger scene, lying in straw, is revealed the answer to every condition of life, every yearning of the heart, every cry of brokenness and despair


also published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine


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