You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
As I look out of the window at the birds searching the garden for food to last them through the window my mind goes back to those days earlier in the year when the parent birds were busily gathering grass and sticks to build their nests. Perhaps you remember as children climbing a tree to peep into a nest to see the eggs yet to hatch. There was a sense of anticipation wondering what sort of bird would emerge from those tiny speckled blue eggs. Soon the wait was over as they hatched and the air was filled with the sound of the young fledglings calling for mother to bring them food. Then later, on a walk in the park you would see mother swan proudly leading her cygnets – her family - across the lake. Of course, this is not something that only happens in my garden or local park. All across the world something similar is happening. Earlier this year my friend Steve wrote about a walk round the lake in a beauty spot near his home, some 6000 miles from here. In that case the birds were of a different type from those round here but they were of the bird family just the same. In the same way we humans, of every race, creed and colour bring our children into the world – each one eagerly anticipated and cherished; we are all one big family.
At this season we look forward with that same eager anticipation to the birth of a new child, a new member of the human race. But this child is different for although He took on human form just like us, He is the Son of God. Yet despite His Divine nature He comes to share our human lives with us. More than that, His birth marked the beginning of the journey that led to our salvation through His death on the Cross. For by His Birth Life Death and Resurrection we are not only taught how to live our lives but that He has taken away the sins of the world.
One last thought. Many of you will have seen the painting by Holman Hunt depicting Jesus standing outside a door knocking, seeking admittance. In that picture you will have noticed that there is no handle on the door – that is on the inside. Jesus stands there knocking but waiting for us to invite Him in, to accept Him as a member of our family.
Let us then welcome Him into our lives, our families with the words of the old carol; “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and let us remember that we are part of God’s worldwide family.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years