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A child is born. President’s Blog 17th December 2019

A child is born. President’s Blog 17th December 2019
December 17, 2019 Hilary Evans

Outside the entrance to St. Martin’s in the Field Church there is a sculpture. It is mainly a large cube of stone with a simple message from John chapter 1, verse 14 carved on the side ‘…and dwelt among us.’ The top of the cube is not smooth because into it is carved a baby. It is a reminder of the Christ child. It shows the vulnerability of a baby, and prompts us to think about the relationship between God and human beings. Each Christmas we are reminded through our Christmas services of the baby born to a young mother in poor circumstances – a borrowed place usually reserved for animals; a less than salubrious birthplace; an unexpected place for God or his son. Many aspects of the story known to us could be described as unexpected to our modern, western ways of living. The way in which Mary learned of her forthcoming motherhood, the interest of men from a far country and of shepherds – people excluded from general society of the time – the interest of King Herod. There is a fairly wide representation of society in this range of people, which makes me wonder whether, even before Christ was born, was there an indication of his being for all people.
If we reflect on the characteristics of a baby, then the baby Jesus was no different to any human baby. Each baby is reliant upon its mother and the adults around it for comfort, food, cleanliness, survival, and for providing examples of living which a child learns by copying. Each child however is also born with elements of its forebears in its DNA, making it a unique being. Each child brings with it potential, potential to learn; to express ideas; to experiment and discover; to share and to teach others. So, the possibilities for each individual could be described as being the same as those that were there in Jesus at his human beginning.
For Christians there is belief that the child Jesus was born with special God-given attributes, attributes which would influence humanity and show how people could learn to live, caring for and supporting one another in loving relationships. That message has had significant influence over the past two thousand or so years, but people have also continued to act and relate in ways which do not fit this ideal.
As Christmas 2019 approaches I find myself wondering about the many pleas for financial assistance from charities seeking to support those in often dire situations through no fault of their own. I am often particularly moved by images and stories of babies and children born into situations where hopes of a decent life are meagre. And yet within each of those children is potential, the possibilities of developing, of creating self-worth and a worthwhile future for themselves and others.
So, as we celebrate this Christmas let’s recognise the worth of each child born, and endeavour not to romanticise what must have been a pretty challenging start to human life in Bethlehem.
I wish you a Christmas filled with love and joy.