Happy Christmas! … Enjoy the greatest gift that anyone could give or receive: the gift of new life, in the form of God’s Son Jesus – the little baby whose birth we celebrate on the 25th – Christ’s-mas. Why did God do that? Very simple: because he loves us. But he also said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Not just, “love one another” – that would be hard enough; but “as I have loved you.” This is not God’s “do this if you feel like it/when you feel like it”. This is God’s commandment – “Love one another”. If you believe in God, there is no easy answer to this; there is no ducking this commandment.
There are two things that I know for certain about this: the first is that this is really, really tough to do; but the second is that the world would be a much better place if everyone lived life loving one another.
How we get from where humanity is at the moment, to where God wants us to be and how he wants us to live, is the tricky thing that we’ve not worked out yet. I know in my heart that this is the scenario that I want to get to; I honestly know that life will be better. But I also know and see so many issues in life: how am I meant to love someone whose abused someone else; or someone who may have murdered – particularly if they’ve murdered a loved-one of mine; or someone from ISIS intent on brutal, irrational killing of anyone different to them; or the killers of the RC priest, Fr. Jacques? I honestly, even as a priest, do not know how to start to do that.
What I do know though is that this is what God has commanded; and if we can do that that life will be better. But I cannot wait until others stop killing, or destroying other people’s lives, before I try to start loving them. It is up to me to make the first move. I have to try and find a way in my heart to reach out and offer that love. If I don’t as a Christian, why should others? If we are not prepared to take the first step as Christians, then the world will never get to that point of everyone loving each other.
God has promised that his love will ultimately be shared by all people. So I know it will happen; I trust God in that long term vision. But I cannot wait for it simply to happen. I have to be part of making it happen. Perhaps remembering the birth of the baby Jesus – the Son of God for all people – will be a starting point this Christmas for sharing that love.
Revd David Commander, Rector