No power at St Peter's?

Associate Rector's letter - Christmas 2004

Revd Chrissie Little"There’s no power at St Peters" – this was the cry heard on Friday 12 November as I arrived at the office. We had a power cut – no electricity and no news as to when it would come back on.

The word power is used in many situations – we use it in prayer "yours is the Kingdom the power and the glory", we use it to describe world leaders, we use it to describe a film that has had an impact on us and in many other ways.

At Christmas time power is used in many ways as well – the power of advertising is evident, the “Must haves” of the season are endlessly flashed in front of us, the pressure on parents to buy their children the latest gimmick, the pressure on the one doing the cooking to make the latest Nigella or Delia stuffing, the power of persuasion and manipulation also comes to the fore. “You must come to us this year” says one member of the family, “you went to them last year”. And so the guilt trip begins.

The songs of Christmas present a story of power and powerlessness. Joseph and Mary have to obey the law of the land in travelling to Bethlehem, at that moment in time they were vulnerable, no thought of presents for their baby to come, just a safe place to give birth. And whilst the angels sang glory to God it was shepherds, those without distinction, who made their way to the manger.

Some of our best loved carols sum up well the amazing truth of God coming into our world as a baby, and one of my favourite poems expresses so well what this celebration of Christmas is all about. It is by John Betjeman, and says:

And is it true? And is it true
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained glass window’s hue,
A baby in an ox’s stall?
The maker of the stars and sea
Become a child on earth for me?

No power at St Peters? We have the most powerful story to tell and to share and to live out, but it is a power unlike any other. It is not about manipulation or exploitation, it is about God coming to us as a baby, as a small and helpless baby. I hope and pray that over the Christmas period you will know the power of love, hope, forgiveness, and that our world will hear the song of the angels: peace on earth, goodwill to all people.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas – with my very best wishes.

Chrissie Little
© St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 2nd December 2004