On a green hill far away

Every year I sit in church on Good Friday hearing the story of the crucifixion and try to get my head and my heart around it. How are we to understand Christ’s death? We hear that he ‘died for us’. And that he dies for us because he loves us. But in what sense can a man die 2000 years ago ‘for us’? It is even suggested that Christ died ‘for me’. How could that be? Continue reading

Light shone all around

Happy Christmas! Why do we see Christmas as a unique time of hope and celebration?  I suppose that any opportunity for a midwinter party with a focus on family getting together has its obvious attractions but, beyond that, what is really special about Christmas? We celebrate the birth of Jesus, yes – but what does that signify that it should cause us to be happy?  What difference does it really make?

Another way of putting this is to ask what all the statements we hear in Christmas services add up to.  A couple of years ago I sat in Church on Christmas Eve (not the Church I am a member of I hasten to add!) listening to a rather unimaginative and, frankly, unengaging, exposition of the connection between Christmas and the forgiveness of sins, salvation and so forth and my mind wandered to what I would say if it were me up there (something I do a lot, I’m afraid).  This is what I thought and, at the time, it seemed so vivid, I wrote it down as soon as I got home.  It’s a bit sketchy maybe, but I reproduce it now almost exactly as I wrote it then.

For me the key theme is light.  Continue reading