young woman is expecting and she will give birth to her child."
-Isaiah 7: 14
may haunt Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol", but in the end it is
tiny Tim who steals the old miser's rehabilitated heart. Charles Shultz
fills "A Charlie Brown Christmas" exclusively with the voices of
children as they search for the true meaning of the season. Children
feature prominently in "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's
Wonderful Life." Children populate many of the popular stories of the
Christmas season. Christmas, of course, is all about a child. An ancient
prophecy from Isaiah finds fulfillment in the birth of the Christ-child to
the Virgin Mary.
feast of the Nativity of the Lord is pregnant with manifold
meaning. As a birth story the nativity explores hope, expectation, and joy
as well as anxiety, fear, and danger. These themes resonate with the words
of Archbishop Rowan Williams in his recent address for the day of prayer
and action for children. "In children we recognize the
preciousness and dignity of the human being as well as a vulnerability
which calls for our care and protection." This insight from the
Archbishop of Canterbury may be readily applied to the story of Jesus'
birth. The Nativity is God's affirmation of human dignity. It is a
demonstration of God's care and protection for the vulnerable.
are so representative of the fragility of the human condition. Children
are among the hardest hit by famine, war, poverty, malnutrition, and
social displacement. From child soldiers on foreign battlefields to the
increasing number of hungry children at North American food banks,
children struggle with many obstacles in the pursuit of a life of peace
and fulfillment. The economic and environmental legacy being bequeathed to
children is a gloomy one. Caring for and protecting the children of the
world, providing them with the opportunity to experience a full and
undiminished childhood, joining them in a sense of awe and wonder, and
nurturing in them a sense of basic trust in life, these are essential both
to the well being of each child and to the salvation of the human family.
birth story is a window on the story of the nativity of Jesus. The birth
of every child calls us to place hope above despair, to care protectively
for all that God offers us in each new arrival. As we celebrate this holy
season may we grow in our resolve to love and care for the precious gift
that is the children of the world. "A young woman is expecting and
she will give birth to her child". This Divine promise is at
heart of the nativity of Christ. The same Divine promise is at the heart
of each human birth.
Rev. Canon Rod Gillis Advent, 2011
Divine, in the birth of the Christ child we see your glory.
we who share in this mystery grow daily in your love.
we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
from the prayer over the gifts for Christmas I--Book of Alternative