Jesus has come and is present in the power of the Holy Spirit, says Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu to the Diocese of York as Christmas approaches...
Every year, the advertising world waits with bated breath to see what the John Lewis Christmas advert will look like.
In 2011 there was an advert called ‘The Long Wait.’ In it we see a little boy impatiently counting down the days to Christmas until finally Christmas morning appears. We see him climb excitedly out of bed, walking straight past the pile of presents on his bedroom floor, so that he can pick out an untidily wrapped present from his cupboard. His parents wake up to find him standing in their bedroom doorway desperate to give them the present that he has lovingly prepared for them.
At Christmas, in the birth of Jesus, we celebrate the greatest gift of all, that of Emmanuel - God with us. As we listen again to the story, we sense the excitement in the Kingdom of Heaven as the angel choir fills the skies with singing. This is the gift that the world has been waiting for.
In Jesus, we encounter God reaching out to His creation with the longing to draw us home to Himself. This is a precarious self-giving, one that risks rejection, but one motivated by love and generosity and the joy of the possibility of Creation being made new.
As we respond to God reaching out to us, we are invited to join with God in being ambassadors of His love and generosity to those around us, and are enabled by the Holy Spirit to live out that life of excited self-giving. As we draw together our Diocesan Strategy over the next five years, we are trying to live out the practical implications of being Generous Churches, those who respond well to the amazing grace of God, so that others may respond as well, and become disciples of Jesus Christ.
On my Pilgrimage of Prayer, Witness and Blessing, and on my deanery Missions, I am encountering so many people who are impatient to know more of God. They are longing for meaning and the true purpose of life, and my joy is being able to tell them that their long wait is over - Jesus has come and is present in the power of the Holy Spirit; and that they can encounter him by faith.
This Christmas may you know the presence of God very close at hand. May you know the excitement of the Kingdom of Heaven filling your celebrations. And may you be given that impatient generosity to reach out to those around you so that they too may encounter the presence of Jesus with them and know that the long wait is over.
A very Blessed Christmas to you all.