The Bishop of Willesden delivers his Christmas message

The story of Jesus - a story worth telling

Strictly, Big Brother and X factor are all over. It’s Christmas – what’s on the telly?

One story that’s hit some headlines is the BBC’s Nativity – a re-telling of the story of the birth of Jesus. With a script edited by Tony Jordan, who writes for EastEnders, it’s a gritty, down-to-earth reminder of the story that we’ve forgotten.

A woman shamed by her pregnancy, a homeless couple on the road with nowhere to stay, a birth in difficult surroundings among the animals, and more journeying, as refugees and exiles. The kind of story that is familiar to many – people living in Brent and Kilburn could tell a story like that.

But amidst the grim and difficult parts of the story, a lot of joy.

A new born baby – something that warms all our hearts.

Ordinary shepherds who come to see the birth.

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Extraordinary men – Magi from Persia –trek hundreds of miles to find out what’s going on.

A message of peace on earth and transformation, where life can never be the same again.

The Christmas story has so many themes that have universal appeal. As Archbishop Rowan Wiliams says “The story of the Nativity is loved even in non-Christian contexts. One of the best and most sensitive recent film retellings was made by an Iranian Muslim company.”

My hope and prayer for all of us this Christmas is that we’ll rediscover the magic of the story of the first Christmas – the birth of Jesus. And retell it to each other, thinking and caring about those who are homeless, those who have less than we do, those who struggle in life. Perhaps recapturing something of the amazing appeal of the story – Love come down among us – and making that love more real in our families and neighbourhoods. Happy Christmas!