O good Jesus,
Word of the Father and
brightness of his glory,
whom angels desire to behold:
teach me to do your will
that, guided by your Spirit,
I may come to that blessed city of
where all are one in heart and mind,
where there is safety and eternal peace,
happiness and delight,
where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
world without end.
From Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000), which is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000.
‘Happy Holidays!’ We all grimace. Why can’t they say ‘Christmas’? ‘X marks the spot where Jesus is left out,’ said a priest who didn’t like the word ‘Xmas’. We often fear that the ‘real message’ of Christmas is lost. But that ‘X’ is of course the first letter of the Greek word ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ (Christos), and points every time back to Jesus. And the ‘holidays’ are ‘holy days’, not just 25 December, but all the days through to Epiphany.
When God chose to come to us as a child in a stable, all creation was transformed. In the fourth century a Christian author wrote how ‘it was the task of the Son to bring what was corruptible back again to incorruption, and to save what was fitting for the Father.’ He continues: ‘For this reason the … immaterial Word of God came to our realm, not that he was distant before.’
This is God’s world. His hand is everywhere. He came to join us in this world at the first Christmas. And in all our celebrations, our feasting, our song, our charitable giving, we celebrate again our closeness to the God who came to be one with us.
‘Happy Holy Days!’
Lord Jesus, light of the world,
John the Baptist told the people to prepare,
for you were very near.
As Christmas grows closer day by day,
help us to be ready to welcome you now.
Team Priest, Forest and Avon Team