This message comes with my warmest wishes as you break for Christmas and with thanks for all you do in sharing God’s love with those in your company.
On Sunday we celebrate the amazing story of God’s gift to the world in Jesus. What is so remarkable about this story is that, in many ways, it’s unremarkable. Mary and Joseph are two young unknown, uninfluential people. Because of their work, the shepherds who first meet Jesus can’t be a full part of Jewish society. Even the relatively wealthy Magi who come to greet Jesus a couple of years later are considered outsiders by the religious rulers in Jerusalem.
Then consider Jesus himself. He is Immanuel, God on earth, but the first sound God makes on earth is a baby’s cry, utterly dependent on his parents for all his needs. And all of this goes on, largely unnoticed by the rest of the world. Ok, so a few hundred angels turn up at one point, but there aren’t any suggestions that anyone other than the shepherds saw that! Yet, all these unremarkable people play their part in sharing in this story of God’s amazing unconditional love for the whole coming to earth in this vulnerable, helpless baby.
Most of us are equally unremarkable. We’re not famous, we’re not world leaders. Many of the young people we work with will also go unnoticed by most of the world. But every part of the Christmas story says that the unremarkable people matter to God. What’s more, the story says that God uses the unremarkable people to tell of God’s love for the world. And in the end, that’s what’s remarkable. The work you do week in, week out, with the young people is noticed by the God who comes among us. Who knows where that work will lead? I hope and pray that you and your young people are blessed by the God who notices and loves you enough to make himself nothing. In the beautiful poetry of the hymn writer, Charles Wesley, ‘our God contracted to a span, incomprehensively made man.’
Revd Ian Worsfold
London District Chaplain