“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood” (John 1:14)
The Christ in Christmas
Mill Grove is the name of a family home where for 120 years children and families have lived and been cared for in the name of Jesus. It’s near the East End of London.
One of the traditions that has developed over this time is how we celebrate Christmas. Family, friends and neighbours join with us over a period of three days with everything thrown in from singing carols to neighbours on Christmas Day and a Boxing Day pantomime, to strange and silly games with exotic names such as Bigamy, Where art thou, brother? And Bomber coming Over.
Having been born here 72 years ago, I have never celebrated Christmas anywhere else. A few years ago, in conversation with some of the youngsters living here I commented that I thought Jesus would enjoy being with us as we celebrated his birthday. “Why do you say that?”, they asked. “Because everyone is welcome, and it’s such a big and mixed group of people from such different backgrounds and cultures”, I replied.
“I think you’re wrong”, said one of them. Intrigued, I asked, “Why’s that?” “I think we have such a good time because Jesus is already with us at Christmas” came the unhesitating reply.
Could it possibly be, I wondered, that Jesus had indeed slipped in to our home and celebrations, so quietly and unobtrusively that no one noticed? And that our enjoyment was a reflection of the warmth of his presence and his smile?
No Christmas since has been the same knowing that this young person had brought me to the very heart of the nature and person of Jesus: God in Christ coming among us and making His home among us, in our ordinary neighbourhood, without any noise, warning or fuss.
This reflection was written by Keith White from Mill Grove www.millgrove.org.uk for our Advent Series on John 1:14 from the message (‘The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.’).