Monday, December 31, 2012

Hope, Joy, & Dignity Rooted in Christmas

On the seventh day of Christmas, something from another great theologian/Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey (1904-1988):

It is because we believe God has an answer to man’s predicament, the answer of the Word-Made-Flesh at Bethlehem, that we have hope, and, having hope, are rejoicing once again at Christmas.

Christians for whom this hope is a reality have been able to rejoice even when they have been in the word’s darkest places. It is It was in prison in Rome with the prospect of death awaiting him that St. Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice . . . In nothing be anxious, the Lord is at hand.”

The proof of our Christian hope is the existence of men and women who have lived by it, and have radiated its joy even in dark and heartbreaking circumstances.

Our rejoicing at Christmas is not an escape from life’s grim realities into a fancy realm of religion and festivity. Rather it is a joy that, as we face and feel the world’s tragedy, we know that God has an answer, an answer for mankind to receive. In a word, this is a time of hope. 

Christmas says: Christ has taken humanity to himself, and so every man and woman and child in the world is loveable and infinitely precious. And, in response, men and women can treat each other–whatever their race or color–in the light of Bethlehem; or they can, in rejecting the human dignity of their fellows, reject their own dignity too.
(from Through the Year with Michael Ramsey, Margaret Duggan, ed.)

Eighth Day of Christmas: As Rain Falls on the Earth

First Day of Christmas: How God Brings His Love to Bear

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