Dr Andy Mackie spoke on “The Power of Christmas” at ChaplaincyPlus’s Carols for the Business Community.
This year, we are aware of many challenges around us – economic, political and more. When a former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, went on the London Eye with his granddaughter, they looked together at the various sights surrounding them, including:
- The Houses of Parliament, at the heart of the country’s political life, focused on the creation and distribution of power;
- The City, at the heart of the nation’s economic life, focused on the creation and distribution of wealth; and
- St Paul’s Cathedral, at the heart of our faith, focused on the creation and distribution of spiritual qualities.
Political power forces people to do something; economic power pays people to do something; and faith offers a third way, a different way, inviting people to do something out of love and trust.
Faith offers a kingdom in another dimension. The king is a child in his mother’s arms. And Jesus failed to live up to the expectations of society. While society worships bigness, power and wealth, God comes small, weak and poor. In Jesus was life: if you are looking for Jesus, you will find life – but society didn’t understand, recognise or receive him:
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind… He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
(John 1: 4 and 10-11, from our Bible reading).
We can be born of God, receiving his spiritual DNA – the DNA of the third way, that transforms us inside out:
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…born of God”. (John 1: 12, again from the Bible reading).
The word “kingdom” is in two parts – “king” and “dom”, or dominion/domain. We are invited to bring our lives, our values, our relationships and our business under the dominion of God. By God’s light, everything else makes sense. In “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, we have just sung:
“where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.”
The offer of our new nature, our new spiritual DNA, is available to us today. We can make the words from the last verse of that carol our prayer today:
“O holy child of Bethlehem
descend to us/me, we/I pray,
cast out our/my sin and enter in,
be born in us/me today.”