Reflection for 1st Sunday of Christmas

The First Sunday of Christmas
Today gives us the opportunity to take stock and consider the significance of all that we’ve heard in
the retelling of the nativity stories over the last couple of weeks. We do so by reading part of St
Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, a Greek city of approximately 25,000 people, i.e about the
size of Chichester. The letter was written about 30 years after the death and resurrection of
Christ, to a church that was receiving unorthodox teaching. The main point which Paul wanted to
correct was that there was no ‘de luxe package’ of Christianity, available only to special people
through special secret knowledge. The church at Colossae already had the truth. Paul writes:
For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking
that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and
understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you
bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made
strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared
to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has
enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from
the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we
have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in
heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or
dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He
himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body,
the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have
first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through
him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by
making peace through the blood of his cross. Colossians 1. 9-20
Thus, Paul gives us a wonderful vision for life, revealed at Christmas. There is nothing of God
outside of Jesus, no extra revelation to be found elsewhere. When we look upon Jesus we see
exactly who and how God is. Jesus is the reason for everything. Everything is made through him
and for him. That’s the significance of Christmas, of Jesus coming to live amongst us.
The event that we call Christmas may be over, the birth of Christ may have been celebrated, but its
implications now begin. Some of this is expressed in the Collect for today:
Almighty God,
who wonderfully created us in your own image
and yet more wonderfully restored us
through your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as he came to share in our humanity,
so we may share the life of his divinity;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
May we as the church discover more of what it means to ‘share the life of Christ’s divinity’ now,
and in the days ahead.
With my love and prayers,

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