Dear fellow-presbyters

As our new Presbytery approaches our first Christmas together, I thought I’d share some thoughts with you about the significance of this season for us. And, strangely enough, this reflection begins with a mention of something called the “cloak of invisibility!”

In the Harry Potter novels, the hero was given his cloak of invisibility in his first year at Hogwarts. Whenever he wore it, he instantly became invisible, and he was able to use that cloak to help him avoid some very dangerous situations.

Now, of course, those novels are a work of fiction, but I’m sure that lots of people have had those times in life when they wished they’d been able to become invisible.  I’m thinking especially about aid-workers or journalists who have found themselves attacked or even killed, simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In Colossians ch.1, we’re told that Jesus is the “visible image of the invisible God.” And that’s essentially what the incarnation is all about … it’s about the Word made flesh; the invisible God becoming visible … the Creator entering into his creation.

It’s about God leaving behind the glory and security of heaven, to enter a world where he had no hiding place from the forces of evil. It’s all about God making himself visible, and consequently making himself vulnerable to rejection, hatred, betrayal and death.

But, that’s what God in Christ did – because he had a promise to keep, and so he became one of us; Immanuel, “God with us.” He chose to become visible and vulnerable in the form of a baby, and not in the form of a mighty warrior as many had anticipated.  God came into this world as a human being in Jesus, and he never had immunity from the power of evil … but when he rose again on Easter morning, he overcame the power of evil!

We, like our Lord, are also vulnerable to all that he was vulnerable to, and, like him, we have no immunity; but because Jesus is living and will never leave us, then we have a hope in him … a living hope that this world cannot offer us.

He is with us! He’s still our Immanuel, and he loves us with a stubborn love that simply refuses to let go. In this Advent season, let’s thank God that he didn’t keep a safe distance from us in the heavenly realm, but that he humbled himself to come to earth as one of us, so that he would become our Saviour. For he became a child that we might become his children.

Wishing you and yours a peaceful Christmas and a hopeful new year.

Brian Hendrie