Archbishop's Christmas message
In a time when the world faces profound challenges and chilling threats and our own country is sharply divided, we need to be a living gift of truth and love to others, says the Archbishop of Wales in his Christmas message.
The Archbishop, John Davies, will be preaching at Brecon Cathedral on Christmas Day. The service begins at 11am and all are very welcome.
You matter to me
The giving of a gift ought never to be a mere gesture, rather it should be a tangible way of expressing affection, love or regard for the person to whom it’s given. Whether it’s an expensive gift, something much simpler or, frankly, just a card, any gift is a means of saying to someone else ‘I care; you matter.’
In or around the 8th century B.C., the prophet Isaiah expressed beautifully just how much the then people of Israel mattered to God: ‘You are precious in my eyes, and honoured, and I love you.’ In other words, ‘You matter to me.’ The task of those people was not to bask in the warm glow of such an expression of their value, but to be, in themselves, a gift to other nations, an example of just, peaceful and loving existence; an example which others could follow, for their good and the good of all and the good of the world. To show that they mattered too. Sadly, things did not always work out as intended, and the people were led astray.
But, because they still mattered, to bring his people and, through them, the world back to ways of goodness, a greater gift was given - the gift of Jesus Christ, whom Christian believe makes God and God’s loving purposes visible and tangible. The Evangelist John expressed this when he wrote that God so loved the world that he gave his only son for the life of the world, and that all who received him and welcomed him were given the opportunity to live as God’s children. Those children, like the former people of Israel, had a calling to fulfil and a task to undertake: a calling to live truly by the teachings of Jesus, and a task to draw others to do the same; and to do this, not just for their own good, but for the good of all and the good of the world, ‘because’, as Isaiah had put it, ‘you are precious, and I love you.’ You matter.
As we come to another Christmas and again celebrate the gift, to the world, of Jesus, the world’s need of justice, peace and love are all too obvious. Whatever may have been the outcome of the General Election, the election campaign exposed sharp divisions in our country, and much of the language of the campaign was anything but inspiring. Beyond our own country, the world and its communities, and the very planet on which we all live, face profound challenges and chilling threats. Injustice, hunger, persecution, abuse and conflict are the daily experience of too many. An experience of truth and love is long overdue for them because, like you they matter, the world matters. Please recognise the potential which you have to be a living gift of truth and love to others and to the world around by receiving and welcoming the gift of Jesus Christ and his teachings.
I wish you a blessed, hopeful and thoughtful Christmas, and a New Year in which to be God’s gift to others, because we are all precious, we are all loved, and we all matter.