From time to time we will be publishing a Reflection by one of our Deanery Clergy.
The following is a Reflection on Christmas by our Vicar, the Rev`d Alison Hardy which she had previously submitted to the Truro Diocesan Mothers Union.
Christmas: John 1 v.11-4
(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was with God in the beginning. (3) Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (4) In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (5) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(6) There was a man sent from God whose name was John. (7) He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. (8) He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
(9) The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. (10) He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. (11) He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (12) Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - (13) children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband`s will, but born of God.
(14) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one end and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Burning: Jesus - the Light of the World burning in the darkness.
Although we recognise the birth of Jesus as the time of his coming into our world, Jesus was in the world long before his birth. He is part of the Godhead or Trinity. In the opening words of Genesis, God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, he is the Spirit hovering over the water of the formless and empty darkness, he is the spoken Word: "`there be Light,` and there was light." The significance about Jesus` birth, is that this is the moment in which he becomes part of his creation. Jesus the Word stood outside of his creation, sustaining it, encouraging and enlightening it, but now at his birth, he comes part of that which he has made. He is `incarnated`, made flesh. He becomes one with his creation. Out of a burning passion for his creation, for his people, God has taken on their form and shape to make himself like us. He identifies completely with us. He even places his light within us that we may burn with the same passion as he does. Our hearts are set on fire with love for him.
Jesus is the light burning in the darkness. He is the Word at the beginning of time. He keeps the flame of the weakest faith burning: `a smouldering wick he will not snuff out` (Matthew 12.20). He set the disciples` hearts on fire as they burned within on the road to Emmaus. His light we acknowledge at Christmas as the `true light which gives light to everyone.` Who ever follows him `will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life` (John 8.12). He told his disciples, `You are the light of the world...let your light shine before others` (Matthew 5.14). At our baptism we receive that light into our lives, to shine before others, symbolised by a lit candle.
Reflection: What does it mean to know that Christ`s light burns within you?
Action: Light a candle. Find somewhere quiet to sit before the flame. Enjoy Christ`s presence. God bless you - and a very Happy Christmas!
Prayer: God our Father, you came to our world in Christ, bringing life and light for all. We thank you for that light that illuminates our lives today and which, as a lamp for our feet, leads us step by step on our journey through life. May that light shine now in our hearts and may the flame of faith burn brightly within us so that we in turn may bring light to others and, in so doing, bring glory to you. We ask this through Jesus Christ, the light who has come into the world. Amen.
A Christmas blessing: May the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Joseph and Mary, and the peace of the Christ Child be God`s gifts to us and people everywhere this Christmas time and may the blessing of the Christ Child be upon us always. Amen.