Bishop's Christmas refugee message
In his Christmas message the Bishop of Norwich the Rt Rev Graham Usher, says at Christmas we look back to the story of someone who soon after his birth, became a refugee, we look back to a story to help navigate our future.
As I look back on this year, two conversations were particularly significant for me. One was in the garden here at Bishop’s house, with refugees newly arrived in this country from Afghanistan. Their fear was palpable, but so was their hope and expectation for the future.
Another conversation happened during COP26 in Glasgow, where it was a huge privilege to speak with a number of people who come from indigenous communities around the world already affected by climate change.
One of those indigenous people said, “Amongst my people, we walk backwards into the future”. And I wondered what he meant. What he meant was that he always looks back at his people’s story, and their history to navigate the future.
At Christmas, we look back to the story of someone who soon after his birth, became a refugee. We look back to a story to help navigate our future. For in the stable of Bethlehem we see the prayerfulness of Mary and Joseph, of the shepherds, and the magi who fall to their knees in adoration. We see the pastoral and the tender care of two parents, inexperienced and in awe, holding this precious new gift to them. And we hear the prophetic voices of the angels singing in heaven, of the shepherds coming to question and wonder, and the Magi following their long and dangerous search.
This Christmas, wherever you are celebrating it. I hope and pray that you will to be transformed by Christ and his story; that you may look back so that you can look forward in hope – that he might transform you, in your prayerfulness, in your pastoral care of those you love, and those around you and those you wish you could love more, and in finding a prophetic voice for the needs of the whole world at this time.
May God bless you, and I wish you and yours a most happy Christmas.