Our Vicar's Message at the Community Crib Service

Christmas is a time when many families come together. My four sons are all away but most will be home for Christmas and the sign that I know they are coming home is when delivery vans start arriving with deliveries of their presents they want to give – so they don’t have to transport them.

I guess many of us will deliver things in the next few weeks and I am sure there will be last minute cards to send on Christmas Eve.

When I say the word ‘deliver’ what do you think of?

There are lots of words but I want to think about ‘Sending’ or ‘carrying’.

Our reading tells us that Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem and whilst they were there it was time for Mary to deliver her child. And the Crib Scene here shows us that scene when Mary, by the will and goodness of God, had delivered Jesus into the world.

Delivering, sending, providing – a well-known supermarket is advertising on our screens at home that it has been delivering Christmas for 100 years.  Based on the film ‘Back to the Future’ and there is no end of food in sight for those at the parties.

I wonder Jesus makes of Christmas now? How his birthday is celebrated. This beautiful Crib Scene – spend time looking at it this Christmas – it reminds us of the simplicity of Jesus’ birth – the simplicity of God coming to the world in a baby – not in a posh hotel – there was not even room to stay in the best rooms – so the Son of God was born in a smelly stable and his bed was an animals feeding trough.

I want to suggest the Church, and by that, I mean people who seek to follow Jesus – I want to suggest the Church has been delivering Christmas for a lot, lot, longer.

Jesus came to deliver a message from God and to show us that love is at God’s heart – and that whilst all people matter to God it gladdens the heart of God when we help the poor and the helpless, those who are hungry, those who are poorly or feel lonely. Because Christmas can be a lonely time for some people.

Isn’t it amazing? When we look at the crib scene we see the rich and poor of the world – the Kings and the Shepherds coming to see Jesus because he is for everyone. But it was the poor shepherds who were the first – the angels came to them to deliver the good news of a Saviour’s birth – a Saviour who would come so we could be delivered safely into God’s fullest presence one day.

If we could, would Jesus want us to go back – to change the future?

What message, what Christmas; would we then seek to deliver this year?

Amen.