God is with us on our journey through life
AS I WRITE this message, the news both on television and in our newspapers is all about the difficulty of travel. Somehow the winter has taken us all by surprise and, whether it is blocked roads or frozen trains or closed airports, travel seems to be a major concern. Three weeks of Advent services all tell, in carol after carol, of frosty winds and snow, and chilly and uncomfortable journeys taken by Mary and Joseph, by shepherds coming down from the hills, and wise men following a star to the place of the Christ child’s birth. Christmas in our minds is a comfortable festival of families and friends at home, far removed from those who have had to spend nights uncomfortably on benches in an airport lounge or hours in their cars. Yet in truth the story is about all those things, about human love and companionship and about the joyful birth of a baby, about gifts and angelic music despite the discomfort of travel and the makeshift cradle because there was no room in the inn. We greet this season with joy because it connects to our human situation, but it is all the more joyful because it says more than that. In the present of the Christ child it proclaims that it is God who connects with our human situation and shares it with us, bringing love and companionship not just at Christmas time but all through the human year. A very happy Christmas to you all.
by Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury