I love all the excitement and build up to Christmas and even all the trimmings, Which is just as well as being a vicar it’s a pretty big part of my job at this time of the year! But what is always a challenge is all the many little talks at school events and carol services, crib services, midnight communion as well as a few words when singing carols at nursing homes and other places.
The Christmas story of Jesus the son of God born on earth as our Lord and saviour continues to be a vital message for our needy world, but considering the old story afresh each year takes some thinking. A colleague suggested to me some years ago about having a special Christmas ‘word’ each year to focus my talks and addresses, and I have had various ‘words’ over the years: Light, peace, gift, hope, joy, glory, fear etc, And our folk at Great Chart and Singleton are used to this and tend to ask me in the late autumn what my ‘word’ might be this year, as I always launch it on Advent Sunday, which this year was 29th November
My word for this year is ‘Mother’. I find it fascinating that God sent his son into the world as a new born helpless baby to be born to an ordinary young couple Mary and Joseph, with a manger for a bed as there was no room for them to stay at an Inn in Bethlehem. Mary has become the most famous mother in the world, and nearly every little girl wants to be Mary in the Nativity play!
Of course we all have mothers who for most of us are wonderful and caring and who work so hard to plan and provide for their children especially at Christmas, but also many know the pain of difficult relationships with mothers, the sadness of losing them, and the pressures on caring for mothers when they get older.
Jesus knew that too and it’s not just when he was a baby that Mary features. We read in the Bible of her misunderstanding him when he was 12, of Mary searching for Jesus when he was busy as an adult preacher, and of her pain as a witness to his suffering and death as well as his resurrection.
God places us all in families of different types and sizes, but we are all born of a mother. Mothers are special to us whether we have good or bad, happy or sad thoughts regarding our mothers perhaps more acute at Christmas time.
But as we think of Jesus and his mother Mary at Christmas let’s consider our mothers and all who care for us and are part of our Christmas celebrations this year