Exminster Methodist Church, Main Road, Exminster EX6 8BT
Email email@example.com, Minister: Rev Julian Albrow, Telephone (01392) 255791
‘Light looked down and beheld darkness. Thither will I go, said light. Peace looked down and beheld war. Thither will I go, said peace. Love looked down and beheld hatred. Thither will I go, said love. So came light, and shone. So came peace, and gave rest. So came love, and brought life. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. (Anon)
Dear Friends It would be true we think of Christmas essentially as a time for giving. Yet it’s strange, isn’t it, that one of the most frequently asked question at this time is ‘What did you get for Christmas?’ Not what did you give, but what did you get? I want to invite you to look to God and we will ask Him, not what He got, but what He gave for Christmas. I believe this is best summed up in the words ‘He came down’. Now I know it is not correct in theology to talk about Heaven being ‘up there’ but I believe for illustrative purposes it can be helpful to look at this theme ‘He came down’. To come down means to lose height, so it seems gave up His extra height. Let’s consider some of the things height provides. Height gives power. If you are chopping a log you will find that an axe with a longer handle gives a more effective chop because the blade comes from a greater height. I remember from school being taught that the power in a hydro-electric power station derives from the volume of water to turn the wheels and the distance the water falls. The greater the height the water falls, the more power there is. So God surrendered height. He came down and gave up power. Height gives greater visibility. A sailor used to be stationed in the crow’s nest, because he could see further. In modern ships, the radar is placed as high on the ship as possible to give it the longest visibility. God surrendered this height and He came down and gave up His distant sight. Height gives a sense of awe. If you are in a mountainous area, have you not been filled with awe at the towering height of the mountain? You look up at the heights, and it can make you fill small in comparison. Height gives an impression of grandeur. So God surrendered his majestic position, one regarded with awe, and He came down, giving up His majesty. Height also gives illumination. We know full well that the sun is at its brightest at midday, when it is at its height. For a light to be seen at a distance, it is set up on high, that’s why we build light houses. This ensures ships can see its warning light from as far away as possible. God surrendered his height, he came down and the light was surrounded by darkness and yet the darkness ‘comprehended it not’ (John 1). Height gives us extra order and control. At most official assemblies it is normal for the person in charge to be on a dais or on some form raised rostrum, (The Speaker of the House, a magistrate etc.), as a means of indicating authority. Height was considered so important that it was considered improper for your head to be higher than your superior, it was even considered to be treason for your head to be higher than the king or queen. In some countries the number of layers you have on your umbrella, and hence its height, reflects your position in society. The taller your shade the more important you are! God came down, surrendered His height and humbled Himself to be born a baby in unimpressive surroundings. God gave you, me and the whole world all this, so we could discover a new way of living: ’Love one-another as I have loved you.’ What a Christmas Present. Why don’t we make it our New Year’s resolution to apply this in our lives.
God Bless, Julian