Christmas Message 2016 - Change

23 November 2016

It sneaks up on us doesn’t it? Not the regular changes we’ve become used to. Like the seasons. Like the change from countryside to city when we journey in the car or the train. Like the change of cultures or even languages when we travel. Like the change from our daily routines into periods of celebration - as with birthdays or anniversaries… or Christmas. Those kinds of changes don’t tend to bring with them any sense of unease.

It’s the change that we hadn’t counted on we don’t like. Change that concerns, challenges, even threatens the things we once held to be solid, reliable, secure. Invisible little changes that come in quiet little moments when we aren’t looking. Change that comes during a routine visit to the doctor, or in a phone call, in a knock on the door, in a news report, in an email from your manager or supervisor, a conversation over a coffee or at the school gate, while we are simply going into the kitchen to make a cup of tea or popping down to the shops. Those kinds of changes - the ones seemingly always just around the corner waiting to pounce.

This year, above many years, has brought many changes and possibilities of change. Both at home and abroad. Certainly, it has brought its challenges and for many it has brought a sense of unease and upset… and worse.

But there was one significant change, around two thousand years ago, which came during a time of great turbulence and challenge. Some will tell us it was the most significant change that humankind has ever, and will ever, experience since the dawn of time. The effect of which has lasted right up until today and, doubtless, will go on into the future. This change, too, happened when people least expected it. It, too, happened quietly and went initially wholly un-noticed. Somewhere in a remote village among the Judaean hills in an obscure corner of a vast, brutal and corrupt Roman empire, a tiny spark of life came into being.

This change, although unexpected, brought with it - and still brings with it - a sense of security and permanence in the midst of all the other changes that may or may not overtake our lives.

At Christmas, we are reminded above everything else that surrounded by all the strain of everyday living, and life in an increasingly complicated and confusing world - there is still something solid, reliable and secure. And all we need to do is take the time to stop for a moment and notice that this kind of change has both come and will be with us for all eternity. Something that is, and will remain, changeless when all those other changes have come and gone.

May you, your family, friends and neighbours enjoy a peaceful and blessed Christmas.