Parish Magazine Article - December 2021

In his letter to the Philippians, St Paul said that Jesus Christ was God in very nature.

In the recent COP26 Conference run-up, some of us have been planting trees as part of the Queen's Green Canopy Project.  It is a fitting way of marking Her Majesty's 70

years as sovereign, and the tree-panting project acquires an urgent relevance in the light of the climate crisis.  Gardeners will have collected seeds to multiply their stocks.  It is a longer-term view and cheaper way than buying established plants from our suppliers.

Seeds are remarkable things.  There is little correlation between their size and the size of the plant that emerges.  What is more extraordinary is that the complete blueprint for the established plant resides in such a small package.  Every detail is written in the DNA, ready to emerge when the conditions are suitable for germination. The seed is as much the plant as the tree is, despite their very different appearance.

All metaphors have their limitations. But when we contemplate the events of Christmas and the reality of God's incarnation in Christ, the seed to plant metaphor can be helpful.  In his letter to the Philippians, St Paul said that Jesus Christ was God in very nature. In Jesus, God reveals himself not just as the creative hand behind all that is but also as personal. The human (albeit extraordinary) attributes of personality we see in Jesus are the characteristics of God himself.  Paul is essentially saying that because Jesus was God, he took the lowest place, showed humility, and gave himself up for others.  Appearing in human form, born as the infant Jesus was not a disguise for God, but God in his very essence.

The humble familiarity of the Christmas story reminds us that we can know God. The good news is that knowledge can be transformative as we enter into a relationship with him. I pray that we all enter afresh into this reality and prepare to celebrate his coming to us.