Christmas Wish - Revd Mark Coleman
Date published: 25 December 2017
I can remember really really wanting an Action Man for Christmas when I was a boy. They still make them - action figures, available as an infantryman or paratrooper. I was delighted when I unwrapped the parcel on Christmas morning and discovered my wish had come true.
Growing up we soon learn that life is far from perfect. It has its ups and downs, we make mistakes, sometimes bad things happen, and we learn that we are not going to make the big time. It hurts when people let us down. Not all our wishes come true.
Do us adults give up on having a Christmas wish? Have we become too cynical, and dare not hope or dream? We do not want to be disappointed.
In churches and homes across the borough of Rochdale there are Christmas cribs, with Mary and Joseph in a manger, with their new baby, Jesus, surrounded by shepherds and wise men. These two young parents never expected that they would be bringing up the Son of God, but through them, great things happened, the world was changed forever.
That Christmas night, the hopes and dreams of humankind were realised. The people 'who walked in great darkness' had been waiting and waiting, and God came to earth, alongside the people He loved.
That stable scene reminds us to express our hopes, in a wish. If God comes to us through an ordinary teenage girl and carpenter, a homeless couple, squatting in a shabby stable, then there is hope for all of us. The shepherds, amongst the least respected profession of those days, were among the first to be told the good news of Jesus' birth. The wise men - foreigners of the most distant type - came too, following a star. God was here, for all.
If God is with us, then wishes can come true. The message of Christmas is that God has come to town, has come to show us that a better world is possible, that broken hearts can mend.
Of course this 'salvation' needs us to get on board, to choose to do the things that make for peace.
In my three years as Vicar of Rochdale I have met some of the most wonderfully kind and loving people. From all sections of the community, these people are like a star leading the way to a better place, they have a passionate wish that love and kindness and hospitality for all should win the day. They remind me that God is with us, that wishes can come true.
So hold a Christmas wish close to your heart. Be bold, dream of peace, healing for broken relationships, a kinder world, a planet cherished.
Love has come to earth, wishes can come true.
Revd Mark Coleman
Vicar of St Chad's and St Mary's in the Baum Rochdale
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Dean