Bishop’s Letter

A Unique Story

When I speak to my Mum on my birthday, she often recalls to me the events that surrounded my arrival in the world. These include nearly being born in the hospital lift, my older brother being smuggled in to see me under my dad’s overcoat and of various aunts sneaking onto the maternity ward out of visiting hours by wearing their WRVS uniforms.

Each of us has a unique story about our birth. At Christmas we’ll be recounting once again the story that we share about another birth – the birth of Jesus. Across the world we’ll be re-telling and re-enacting what happened in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago. We’ll recall the journey of Mary and Joseph, the birth in the stable, the arrival of the shepherds, the song of the angels, the visit of the Magi.

Our own birth stories are unique to each of us. Jesus’s is common to us all. And not just because we all know about it. For in our recollection of Jesus’ birth, we’ll also be remembering that that in him, God came to be at one with us. In Jesus God arrived to share fully in our humanity, experiencing complete solidarity with every aspect of our human condition. Jesus is ‘God with us’ – in trenches in Ukraine, bomb shelters in Israel and Gaza, in hospital wards where loved ones die, in relationships where there is conflict and distress.

Just as much as he is with us in our greatest joys and our deepest woes, Jesus is also for us. One of the earliest teachers of the Church said this: ‘He became what we are so that we might become what he is.’ The baby born in Bethlehem stands with us not only in all that we experience. This child also comes to offer us the possibility of opening every part of our lives to the transforming power of God’s life of love and joy and peace. He comes so that every day we can become a little more like him. 

This is the good news of Christmas and may it be yours this year.

A very Merry Christmas to you all.

Bishop Michael