Monday, December 25, 2006

Two Christmas Crackers: 2006

This year's Christmas sermons from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Durham are quite good, as were last year's. The amazing thing -- and this may reflect that Christmas is a slow news day as much as anything -- is that the Archbishop's sermon and the Pope's are each summarised and remarked on in the news.

Here is ++Rowan's. If you need encouragement, here is a preview of coming attractions:
We are used at Christmas to singing about the poor helpless child of Bethlehem whom we will rock and keep warm and cradle. But the great mystery of the day,
the joy and shock of it, is that it is Jesus Christ who picks us up, helpless children, abandoned, ruined, and promises us everything that he can give. And as he gives, he makes us grow, and sends us to make the same promise in his name to all, whatever the conflicts, whatever the guilt. To all he offers the authority to be children of God; from his fullness we may all receive, grace upon grace.

Pure gold.

In fact, I've often wondered about the dynamics of seeing Jesus as a baby without grappling with what his adulthood looked like. Those who attend church only on Christmas and Easter tend to only see Jesus as a newborn child, or dead and risen and gone ahead of us. Now, clearly these two mysteries are at the heart of our faith as Christians, and please don't hear me saying otherwise, but it seems to me that the whole of his life gives those events a context within which to understand them and more deeply enter and live them.

N.T. Wright's Christmas 2006 sermon is here. An excerpt:

...grace and truth must meet together; if it really is grace, it really must
produce truth, a rich, deep personal, moral and ecclesial integrity which is
deeply true to the created order and to its recreation in Christ, to the deep
structures of God’s wise and loving ordering of his world and of us human

And his Christmas Eve sermon is here.

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