A Christmas message from the Assistant Bishop of Llandaff, David Wilbourne:
I know people get a bit jumpy about babies crying during a church service, but I’m always glad to hear a baby crying, not least because it reminds me that the congregation before me might be alive, whereas otherwise I’m not always so sure!
But the chief reason I really, really like to hear a baby crying in church is that it takes me back 2000 years to Bethlehem when a baby’s cry pierced the dark night of a war-torn, brutally occupied country, broke history in two, BC/AD, and announced that God was in town, and was in town to stay.
You couldn’t have a better aide memoir of the heart of the Christian story than a baby’s cry, drawing our attention to the Christ who is present in every baby, every cry. Everyone loves a baby, infinitely more so when you dare to see none other than Christ in that child. The crunch question for us this Christmas is do we pick up every Christmas baby and cuddle and feed and clothe her, or do we rain bombs upon her?
Thomas Hardy’s short poem, Christmas 1924, written after Winston Churchill sanctioned the bombing of Mesopotamia to stem the Great Iraqi Revolution, should haunt us all:
‘Peace upon earth!’ was said. We sing it,
And pay a million priests to bring it.
After two thousand years of mass
We’ve got as far as poison-gas.