News Archive - December 2005
The courage people show in terrible circumstances never fails to be moving
After the explosion at the Buncefield oil storage depot I had the privilege of going to see the fire-fighters at 'silver' control.
These were the men who were in charge of trying to extinguish the enormous fire - and to that task they brought their professionalism, strength and wry banter.
The only way that the problem could be tackled was by being close to the heart of it. They literally walked towards, rather than away from, the problem. It took great courage.
You may remember an image from the television screens following the tsunami that hit south-east Asia last year. It was of a woman on a beach running towards the huge wave, trying to warn her family swimming in the sea of what was happening. Her courage, too, was enormous.
The capacity and the courage that people show in terrible circumstances never fails to be deeply moving. I have given illustrations from two public events - but the same point could have been made by writing about the courage of carers in our society, those who quietly and unflinchingly enter the suffering of others in order to try to transform it.
If you want a picture of what God is like - then look to those people and look at the Christmas story. God himself comes towards the world, enters it with all its dangers, and through love tries to transform it.
We surround that great story with other images - wise men, shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger, because within those stoiries and the truths they reveal, we can see, if we wish to see it, what God is truly like.
Love always walks towards and never away from - and so it is with God. No matter what any of us may face in the coming days and weeks if we open our eyes we shall see God coming towards us, entering our lives, to help us bear things.
Is it any wonder that Christmas is so enriching? We are not on our own. In Christ, God is with us - and that's what it's all about.
-- The Bishop of St Albans is the Bishop for the Diocese of St Albans which is the Church of England in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Luton and part of Barnet.
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