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  • Writer's pictureRevShirleyMurphy

God with us

No love that in a family dwells,

No carolling in frosty air,

Nor all the steeple–shaking bells

Can with this single Truth compare –

That God was man in Palestine

And lives today in Bread and Wine

This December perhaps feels like a ‘careful what you wish for’ sort of moment. For years, the season has been accompanied by a call to remember the real meaning of Christmas. We’ve all heard those messages easily trotted by earnest preachers, suggesting we might ignore the lure of consumerism, resist all the shiny trappings and remember instead that little baby in the manger.

And yet, here we are in 2021, with little choice but to strip back our celebrations. It is months since I ventured anywhere near a crowded high street and I have missed watching the Christmas lights brighten up the streets around central London since I moved to Wales. Singing along with carols from the solitude of our bedrooms isn’t quite the same as the frosty air of a cold church building, without being swept along by other voices who can carry a tune much better than we can. Enforced or not, this truly is the ‘simpler’ Christmas for which many of us might have longed.

It might be easy to point out glibly that the baby in the manger is one of the few things to have stayed the same in all the turmoil of this year, or that the physical reality of the first Christmas was as messy and imperfect as 2021. But, as John Betjeman reminds us, if it is true that the message of Christmas is of a God who came to be with us, Emmanuel, then nothing else is enough.


God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr: Daily Reflections for Advent - Richard Rohr

Keeping Christmas: 25 Advent Reflections on A Christmas Carol -Allison Pittman

Theos Think Thank – Hannah Rich

Waiting on the Word: A Poem a Day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany - Malcolm Guite

People Walking in Darkness - Kyle Bueermann and Matt Henslee

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