The Revd Nigel Uden, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, reflects on how Christmas is experienced by different people across the world.
Christmas Day isn’t the same for everyone.
Some will be in the northern hemisphere’s winter, dreaming of a white Christmas. But others will be on an Australian beach dreaming of cooling down.
Some will be surrounded by plenty and indulgence, while others are living in poverty with nowhere to lay their head.
Some will be in the bosom of their friends or family. Others will be alone.
Some will be singing carols safely, happily gathered around a crib, unsure about what it all means. Others, including young children, will be persecuted; paying an unspeakable price for walking the way of Christ.
We cannot conjure a uniform image of how we experience this special day.
In all those varied circumstances, there is a common thread which isn’t about what we are doing but about what this day says God is doing. The Bible puts it like this:
‘God sent his son into the world
not to judge the world
but so that through him
the world might be saved.’ John 3:17
This is a day for realisation, as awe-struck as Bethlehem’s shepherds that Jesus Christ is the revelation of the kindness and love of God, not because of anything good we have done, but because love stirs God to will more abundant life for all.
Whatever else this day is about, it is the day to ponder and celebrate that gift, and then to share it.
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to God’s people on earth.