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A spiritual comment and prayer to begin the day with Leslie Griffiths.

2 minutes

Last on

Fri 30 Dec 2016 05:43


Good morning.  The story of Christmas is probably one of the best known of all time. And that could be its problem. Familiarity breeds contempt. We may know the story so well that it no longer carries its punch. I can say this with some confidence because once, just once in my whole life, I remember telling the story to a group of people who’d never heard it before. It was in Haiti. A hundred or so strangers joined a congregation where I was going to preach. I’d prepared a sermon but soon realised it would be useless because, when I asked the strangers, migrant workers in the nearby sugar fields, a few simple questions about Christmas, it was obvious they hadn’t a clue what I was talking about. So I introduced them to Mary and Joseph – ordered by the authorities to travel to Bethlehem. They nodded energetically at that – they’d received such diktats from the state many a time. And they, like the heavily pregnant Mary, had had many a door slammed in their faces – they groaned in solidarity with her. They loved hearing how a choir of angels sang their song of an imminent God-given great event and they shouted with joy that it was shepherds abiding in the fields, people just like themselves, who’d been the first to see this special child. But their greatest pleasure came when they heard that the kings had only got to see the baby Jesus after the shepherds – subverting the normal social order at a stroke. They just loved that. I’ve rarely seen such excitement. Here was a story that struck a chord with ordinary people and filled them with sheer joy. I wish it still did. Help us, dear Lord, in our busy lives, to hush the noise, and calm the strife, to hear the angels sing. Amen.