Christmas is a love story

My Christmas message for The Mercury, Examiner and Advocate newspapers:

The Christmas story is a love story, one which speaks to our hearts.

In that stable we sense the warmth of human love shared between Mary and the infant Jesus, with Joseph, with all present there. But at a deeper level, Christmas is a story of God’s love, God entering our world, reaching out to us, speaking to us.

And we honour one another when we in turn reflect that same love in the way we choose to live our lives, in our speech with another.

As I move around Tasmania I see God’s love and grace in simple yet rich traditions – baptisms and confirmations, weddings and funerals. I see Christian people reaching out to their communities. All year I am reminded of God’s Christmas love.

But in those same communities when we’ve had difficult matters to speak about this year, we so often have struggled to speak with each other in ways which reflect love, care and courtesy. We struggle to speak as God has spoken to us.

This is a shared struggle, one in which the Church shares responsibility. We all need, in working together through the issues of our time, to learn to speak words of life to one another, to eschew words which bludgeon, belittle and condemn.

The infant became the man Jesus, master of the searching question which opens up conversation, which values the hearer. Can we learn to ask one another good but gentle questions, and to respond ourselves with care, with courtesy, with love? Can we nurture community in Tasmania built on mutual respect, on love?

Hope lies in the example of this infant who was born among us, this infant who is God’s ultimate word to us. God speaks life to us; may God enable us to speak life to one another.

Christmas blessings, Tasmania.

Shalom, +John 🙂

Anglican Bishop of Tasmania

See also my YouTube Christmas message 2012.

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