“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood” (John 1:14)
This Christmas I have been thinking about the words of Teresa of Avila, ‘Christ has no body now but yours’
…and wondering about the picture this paints of Father Christmas, Saint Nicolas:
Santa has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world… Santa has no body now on earth but yours.
I know! This is horrible; I am degrading a beautiful piece of writing.
Nevertheless I have been pondering this parallel, thinking about the roles we play with our children, and the roles we play in communities. The magic, the hope, the opportunity, we try to curate in our contexts. I live in Bournville, Weston-super-Mare. It’s a really beautiful place. At our Halloween party the prizes went missing, word got out, and within half an hour people from around the estate were showing up with replacements. We had more than we started with.
So, with my tongue firmly in my cheek, I have written a letter to Santa, to my community, to this movement, to Christ, to YOU… to be opened on Christmas morning:
Thank you for all your gifts this year,
Thank you for the hope you bring.
Thank you that you care so much for this humble place;
You don’t know the half of it: of what happened when you showed up
Today is a day to tell that magical story, to celebrate the unbelievable:
A story of bighearted sacrifice for the sake of the little ones
This year I have seen you give generously.
I have seen the difference you make to others.
I have seen how your presence lights up the world around you.
Thank you for being the Santa here,
for being you in this place.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.
This reflection was written by John Wheatley, F.Y.T Movement Leader and Youth Worker in Bournville, Weston-super-Mare, for our Advent Series on John 1:14 from the message (‘The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.’).