CategoryNadolig ☩ Christmas

The Coming

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Mae ‘The Coming‘, gan y Cymro R.S. Thomas – a oedd yn fardd ac offeiriad – yn drosiad dwfn o ymgnawdoliad Iesu, ac eto mae’n siarad â’n sefyllfa ni heddiw.

Yn y gerdd mae’r geiriau’n creu cymysgedd gref o liwiau gweledol i adrodd stori Iesu’n dod yn un ohonom ni.

Fel llawer o’n carolau plygain Cymreig, sy’n cyfeirio at ddigwyddiadau Dydd Gwener y Groglith gymaint â Dydd Nadolig, mae’r gerdd yn cynnig delwedd o’r Groes fel coeden foel ar Galfaria.

Wrth ddychmygu’r berthynas rhwng Duw Dad a Duw’r Mab, mae’r gerdd yn sôn am anghyfannedd, poen ac awydd Iesu i ddod i’n hachub ni, bobl Dduw.

Rwy’n gweddïo bydd y gerdd hon yn siarad â chi, fel y mae i mi.

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The Coming, by the Welsh preist-poet, R.S. Thomas, is a profound rendering of the incarnation of Jesus, yet it speaks of our situation today.

It is a poem whose words create a strong mix of visual colour to tell the story of Jesus becoming one of us.

Like many of our Welsh plygain carols, which refer to the events of Good Friday as much as Christmas Day, the poem offers an image of the Cross as a bare tree on Calvary.

In imagining the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, the poem speaks of desolation, pain and Jesus desire to come to save us, God’s people.

I pray that this poem speaks to you, as it does to me.

Christmas Messages 2019

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Closed Captions (subtitles) are available by using the button ‘CC’

Here are my Christmas messages for this year.

The written message (below), ‘ I don’t believe it!’, challenges us to discover the generosity of God in coming to the world as a helpless child.

In the video Christmas message (which is available in Welsh as well), I wonder whether the Christmas story is a love story in reverse, and it features Bangor’s Fair Price Café as volunteers prepare to host a Christmas lunch for the homeless. It was filmed in Bangor, on Parys Mountain, near Amlwch and includes images from some Christmas markets in Germany.

Closed Captions (subtitles) are available by using the button ‘CC’ or via the settings ‘cog’ on Facebook.

Please do share and use these messages and a blessèd Christmas to you all!

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‘I don’t believe it’

Fans of Victor Meldrew will remember his unforgettable ‘I don’t believe it’ outburst and the riotous disasters which followed. Those unfamiliar with ‘One Foot in the Grace’ have a treat in store via YouTube or iPlayer. Synonymous with a scepticism born of incredulity, the words became the catchphrase of the 1990s.

Though dripping with caustic wit there is something, perhaps, salutary in the outburst. And Biblical too. When Mary was told the news she would bear a son her first response was little different; when the shepherds were told a Saviour was lying in a feeding trough, theirs was much the same.

All the ancient statements lack Victor’s acidity but they share the same disbelief. In truth, it’s hard when the years shape certain expectations about the world, the way things are, what’s true and what isn’t. And so, when something utterly unexpected happens, which breaks up these settled boundaries of belief, we can understand why ‘I don’t believe it’ becomes the first response.

I’ve been struck recently by the courage of some extraordinary behaviour whether seen on London Bridge by fearless and selfless human beings or by those who refuse to concede to an agenda of despair and Brexit fatigue. I’ve seen lives touched by kindness in local foodbanks and a Fair Price Café in the city of Bangor and how change takes place in the fortunes of vulnerable people. This capacity to change and be changed seems to me gets to the heart of what Christmas means. When we discover the Light of the World piercing our own darkness or the wonder of a generous God reaching out in the most extraordinary of ways through a helpless child, Christmas comes alive.

It’s at this point we might choose to join the angels and sing a bit. Or stick with Victor and say ‘I don’t believe it’. The choice is ours.

+Andrew Bangor


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