Crooked Spire vicar’s column: Thank God this Christmas for those who help people in need

There’s a lot of fear about. Fear of Covid; fear of a thousand other things.

Reverend Patrick Coleman, vicar of Chesterfield's Crooked Spire.

There are people who profit from our fear, and whose careers are built on the actions our fears drive us to.

Fear is a backdrop to Christmas. Fear of the census exacted by the Roman occupiers. Fear of power games by local potentates.

Christ’s coming takes place in the middle of a real human world; and if Christ is to come again to us this Christmas the place where you and I stand will be again the place where ’the hopes and fears of all the years are met again tonight’.

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The Christmas celebrations of the church are not limited to the warmth and beauty of carol services and midnight mass.

There is the Feast of Stephen, the first to lose his life because he believed and witnessed that Jesus is the Son of God.

There is the tragic and meaningless remembrance of the Holy Innocents, who were killed as a jealous puppet ruler clung on to his illusion of power by trying to destroy anyone else who might be seen as King of Israel.

These are reality checks to remind us of two things: God in Jesus lives as a real part of this flawed world; God in us still lives to redeem the evils of this world and to take away fear.

Thank God this Christmas for those who work with the homeless, the refugees, the dispossessed, the abused, the oppressed – and so many others who are in need.

Thank God this Christmas for those who do such work all year round.

And make this Christmas a celebration of all that is light in darkness, hope in despair, joy in sorrow – with the aim of overcoming all these things by the naked humanity in which God’s hope is revealed to us.

God bless us every one!