Sunday, December 25, 2011

Feast of the Nativity 2011

God is with us. Alleluia.

Another year and certainly not without upheaval, both personally and ecclesiastically! Yet Christmass still provides us, however busy our lives as Churchmen, lay and ordained, might be at this time of year, with a still centre as we say the old words and sing our old carols and love them still as if they were new. Each year we say them differently with a new breath. St Hildegard of Bingen famously said, "My new song must float like a feather on the breath of God."

If you have been following St Mark's Gospel at Morning Prayer throughout Advent, perhaps you will have found yourself out of breath with the pace at which the narrative moves. Everything seems to happen in rapid succession as the Evangelist draws us further and further into the life of Christ. Even the Lord Himself seems blown along by events judging from the times that he wants to be alone yet finds himself blown hither and yon to mountain, valley and sea throughout His walk with us. He Himself becomes a feather on the breath of God.

We remember that the Lord Himself also had a first breath as all tiny babies have and which is soon followed by that first distinctive cry. That sound is one of pain, confusion and great discomfort upon being born; it is instinctive and automatic, though it is true that many babies have to be encouraged to breath with a slap! Those of us who are fathers will remember the first cry of our children with joy because it is the sound of life, and the distress does not last long for soon the baby is clean, dry and warm in the arms of Mum.

It has been a tough year for many of us. Some have struggled with their faith and gasp for Divine Breath. Others have sadly breathed their last and we pray that they receive the new air of Heaven. Others of us have suffered much with our health (indeed, a good friend has found even breathing a struggle) and we pray for their revivification and restoration. Others of us have suffered spiritually with much angst, confusion and doubt as we battle in the acrid smoke of Infernal forces, and we pray for their relief and victory over that which ails them.

We also pray for cleaner air for all humanity to breathe. There is much spiritual pollution in the world as the Spirit of the Age vies in vain with the Holy Spirit of God. Yet still we feel the effects: Christmass itself gets obscured with an impure air of Mammon and Gluttony. We are fortunate enough to see through this smokescreen but we struggle to help others to see and to breathe deeply the clean, crisp air of Christmass.

A Joyful Chrisrmass, one and all!

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