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Celebrating the birth of Jesus

A Christmas sermon by the Dean of Grafton:

Around the world today millions of people will engage in various rituals to mark the birth of Jesus more than 2,000 years ago.

Not everyone will be a person of faith, but Jesus has a significance for our world that goes beyond religion.

It would be hard to identify any other individual who has had the impact on the world which Jesus has had over the past 20 centuries.

The Holy Child of Nazareth held no political or priestly office, and commanded no armies. He was not born into a wealthy family nor into a family with high status in the wider community.

Yet Jesus turned the world upside down.

Jesus proclaimed the coming of God’s reign, but sought no power for himself.

Jesus healed the sick, gave hope to the oppressed, fed the hungry and was even said to raise the dead back to life.

Jesus blessed bread and wine, then invited anyone to come and eat. No limits to acceptance. No boundaries to compassion.

“Imagine this”, Jesus said. “Imagine a world where God’s law of love prevails rather than the edicts of Caesar or the privileges of the powerful.”

And he taught us a prayer which—if we ever really lived it fully—would turn our own lives upside down as well:

Our father in heaven … Your kingdom come … Your will be done on earth as in heaven … Give us the bread we need for today, one day at a time … Forgive us by the measure of how we forgive others … Do not put us to the test …

We shall say that prayer together later in this service, and I invite you to hear afresh how that prayer reverses what we often think we know about God, or power, or church, or ourselves.

This is the legacy of Jesus, whose birth we celebrate tonight.

The full text of this sermon together with video may be found online.

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