Disarmed by the unbelievable truth - Rt Revd Lee Rayfield

First published 11th December 2017

As Advent moves to the celebration of Christmas, Bishop Lee reflects on its life transforming nature.

Can I understand why so many people find the tenets of the Christian faith impossible to believe? Of course I can. Accepting that there is a Creator and Sustainer of our incomprehensibly vast universe who is interested in a planet the size of a grain of sand in the Sahara Desert is one thing. Imagining that this God is not only deeply personal but has entered into his own creation as a totally dependent and vulnerable human being strains credibility. It seems that Christians are expected to believe a great deal more than Alice in Wonderlands six impossible things before breakfast.

And yet for over 2000 years, from ancient to contemporary times, intelligent, thoughtful, reflective women and men have found this unbelievable truth to be the bedrock of their worldview; the insight which colours and informs their sense of identity, their meaning and purpose for existence, and the way they endeavour to live out their daily life. Across the globe the names given to the babe of Bethlehem, Saviour and Emmanuel (God with us) have become an existential reality for millions, even in the most unpromising and testing circumstances when hope appears to have evaporated and God seems to have vanished.

I can understand why people might believe the universe is essentially a product of chance, the consequence of purely random events with no underlying purpose. That it has created a planet such as our own is wonderful yet holds no extrinsic meaning. That said, every Christmas time there will be a few more people who start with this conviction but glimpse a deeper reality and take a step closer to the seemingly unbelievable. The God who is uniquely encountered in the person of Jesus has a habit of disarming our defences and opening us to a reality which begins to transform each of us, and through us the world, from the inside out.

May you, or someone close to you, discover more of this unbelievable truth this Christmas and find the faith, hope, and love, which is not only at the centre of this season but the universe itself.

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