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!
☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩ ☩
‘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.