From The Rev’d Gareth Miller – December 2020

Brian Wood

The Rev’d Gareth Miller

Dear friends

I’ve never been one for camping. Too many memories of soggy weeks in Cornwall. Yet for many on earth today a tent, or even a flimsy piece of plastic, is their only home.

At Christmas we are reminded that God ‘dwelt among us’.  Now ‘dwelt’ has a nice, cosy, slightly old-fashioned ring to it. What the text actually says is that God ‘pitched his tent among us’.  The verb that John uses takes us back to Old Testament stories of the God who chose to share the itinerant life of his nomadic people.

The pandemic of 2020 has deepened our awareness of the fragility and provisionality of human life. We are all nomads here on earth, though most of us are lucky enough to have somewhere fairly firm to pitch our tents. On Christmas Day we often read the Letter to the Hebrews, which reminds us that we are all strangers and foreigners here on earth, bedouin or perhaps migrants in search of a better home. That ‘homelessness’, far from depriving us of our humanity, constitutes it. Hebrews encourages us to ‘lay aside every weight’ in order to be freer for the journey.

I hope that in 2021 we will all be able to move on. Move on from the pandemic, of course, but move on spiritually too. If we have learned anything this year, it is to count our blessings, to cherish our loved ones, to value each day, and to rely less on our material wealth. So let’s move forward, with faith in the future, and with faith in Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13.8).  As someone once said, “If God had wanted us to stay in the same place he would have given us roots, not legs.”


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