The Bishop of Warwick, The Rt Rev John Stroyan, reflets on the preciousness of human life in his Christmas message to the people of Warwickshire.
THE JOURNEY we are all on during this continuing pandemic has reminded us all of the frailty of human life. None of us know how long we, or our loved ones, will be here for. So, it has revealed also the preciousness of human life. The message of Christmas is that we matter to God, each one of us and God wants us to know that we matter and that He loves us and that He is with us. God’s love for humanity is unconditional. We don’t have to be or to do anything in order for God to love us. He already does (and always will!). God did not wait for humanity to sort itself out before He sent us Jesus. God came – and comes – into the reality of human life, with all the pains, struggles, weaknesses and joys that we experience. Just as God in Jesus came into a broken world (St John tells us He ‘pitched his tent among ours), God still comes into our broken and needy lives today. We don’t have to be good or perfect to receive and to welcome the light and love of Christ. Leonard Cohen put it well in his song, “Anthem” – ‘Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget the perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.’
But God, in His love, has created us free to make choices, to say Yes to His love, to ignore it, or even to reject it. Love cannot compel love or it would not be love. The coming of Jesus into the world invites a response. The wise men responded by following the star, the shepherds responded to the angel by leaving their fields and hurrying to Bethlehem to encounter the Christ child. And prior to this was that first and all-important response of Mary to God’s message through the Angel Gabriel. ‘Let it be to me according to your Word.’
How do we choose to respond?