Bishop Andy’s Christmas Message 2014

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To Infinity and Beyond

BBC Radio’s Today programme carried the news story – so it’s official. ‘To Infinity and beyond’ is the most well-known one-liner ever. Never mind ‘Quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’, Buzz Lightyear wins by a whisker. And for devotees of Toy Story we know in fact that he couldn’t fly but fell with style. But, perhaps, that’s beside the point.

The ability to deliver the punch line has long been recognised as crucial. These are the bits we remember. These are the rivets which hold the story in place, which then becomes memorable.

So something like, ’Good news, God’s come to town’ may well cause us to lift an eyebrow and wonder if there’s a good story to be had here too. And we wouldn’t be far wrong. All around us nativity sets, the angels on the trees, the gifts being plucked from the shelves – they all point in one direction.

And we’d miss the point if we thought this was another Hollywood script with happy figures huddled around a crib adoringly; this is no cuddly story with a bit of midwinter snow thrown in to boot. This is the way God leaped into human life and showed us heaven. This is how unquenchable light blazed through a dark world, so that the no-one should be left out in the cold. This is Christmas no. 1.

And everything turns on getting this bit straight. If this is the ‘God way’ of reaching out to us, it opens the door for a completely different take on life, on hope and just about everything else that’s important to us. Life lived with God, big questions answered and hope which doesn’t desert us in time of need.

So really we don’t need a Buzz Lightyear to tell us about infinity and beyond. Infinity touched earth as a child and was laid in a feed box. Today He calls us to let the light of His peace and joy pulse through us. Have a most blessed and happy Christmas.

+Andrew Bangor

The Right Rev’d Andrew John