25th December 2014
The partridge in a pear tree is the reminder of Jesus the Christ, whose birth we celebrate on the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . .” (Luke 13:34)
The memories come flashing back. Family, friends, carols, special gifts, special events, special . . . everything. It all seems so close. So welcome. So wonderful. And, it should.
A fresh awareness of whom we are always seems to come alive on Christmas Day . And then, we remember. “Peace on earth, good will to men” is a wonderful pronouncement of the angels. But, it is not the reality of the world in which we live at all.
So, on this day, this Christmas Day, what can we do to accomplish whatever is our part of the task that Jesus’ coming was meant to cause to happen? Peace on earth: Let it start within our own hearts.
Good will to men: Look at your family, or those close by. Look up from this screen. There is a world around you that you are to influence. Let the good will begin in and shine from you. Someone has to start the process.
Just a little further afield, you and I, and our neighbours, are His purpose. We always have been. We always will be.
Our relationships, every one of them, are damaged by whom we are without Him. He came to save us from the damage that is part of us, a damage that we did not seek, and yet can do nothing about in our own strength. His desire is that those relationships be healed.
Who would ever have thought that such a thing could be put into motion by such a seemingly common occurrence? He was just a baby that day. Helpless, susceptible to danger, small, insignificant. But how the world was forever changed.
The tinsel, the garland, the lights and ornaments. They are only but a dim reminder of how much glory God ushered into the world that day so very long ago. On their own, they are pretty sights that captivate even a child’s imagination. But, in contrast, only a small candle in comparison to the glory God gave to us that day.
Merry Christmas !! It is but one aspect of God’s wonderful gift!
The Rev’d Canon Simon Moor, Vicar of Huddersfield Parish Church