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St Matthews Church Oxhey Hertfordshire

Fr David's Sermon


25th December 2008

Fr David Shepherd

Christmas 2008

Get the train out of Euston, look out the right hand side & you will eventually spot a big sign saying ‘Prepare to meet your God’. Once such texts were common on railway stations, perhaps dating from the days when trains were new & dangerous.

There are still some religious adverts. There was one under our bridge saying ‘If God existed what would you ask him?’ From the religious Alpha it seemed to suggest that God didn’t exist. Then there is the atheist bendy bus poster saying ‘God probably doesn’t exist.’ That begged the question the other way, so much so that the Church helped fund it because it would it at least get people talking. The donation certainly annoyed the atheists!

However the golden age of chapter & verse, of Bible bashers quoting texts does seem to be over. People just don’t know their Bibles as they once did.

That said I thought I’d choose a text for tonight – a favourite Christmas text for 2008. Here it is-

‘For God so loved the world that he gave.’ Jn. 3.16

Human beings take – hence global warming, credit crunch and wars. God is different; he gives because he is a God of love. We don’t just take; we give too because we love. When we love we do so because God’s love is in us.

The text is incomplete, the verse continues-

‘... his only Son...’

God gives us Jesus – Jesus God wrapped up for us, the best Christmas present of all.

If you go to the Royal Academy to the Byzantium exhibition you will see Icons from the Greek Church. One shows the nativity on one side – Mary holding the infant Jesus – and the cross on the other – Our Lady of Sorrows standing by her dying Son. The two go together the birth & the death. Such is the gift.

The verse is still incomplete, it continues-

‘..., that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’

In giving us Jesus, God gives us life – birth, death and resurrection – life in all its fullness, now & in eternity. So my Christmas gift to you all, the text in full-

‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’

I give it to you as a reminder of the greatest gift of all, God’s gift to us of Jesus.

Amen

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Comments about this site or problems? Contact Webmaster (Colin Richards) at webmaster@stmatthewsoxhey.org.uk Last updated 27/12/2008 15:30 Author: David Shepherd