“Here is the little baby reaching out his arms to give you a hug”
Throughout this term in RE we have been looking at the Christmas Story and using Godly Play as a way of retelling and exploring the story. Godly Play is a form of storytelling that uses figures and models to tell Biblical stories and the create the space where children, and adults, can wonder and explore what the story means for them. In RE we’ve been using The Holy Family story to learn about Christmas and explore different characters in the Nativity story each week. In The Holy Family story there are figures for Mary and Joseph, the Shepherd and Sheep, the Three Wise Men and the cows.
At the centre of this story, which you can see in the picture, is a little figure of a baby representing the baby Jesus. When that part of the story is told the storyteller says the words “Here is the little baby reaching out his arms to give you a hug”. As I reflect on the message of Christmas I think that it’s summed up in that line. This little baby was born to give each person, and the whole world, a hug.
The core of the Christmas story is the birth of this little baby. This little baby was the Messiah, the King, the Son of God, yet he wasn’t born in a palace or some salubrious house. He was born in a stable surrounded by animals and filth. The first people who heard about this birth were not rulers or powerful people but lowly shepherds, people who were outcasts from general society. It’s in these two elements of the Christmas story that we see the core of love for all people.
At Christmas time we remember the love of God is made evident to all through the birth of Jesus. And right from the start there were no conditions or requirements put on this love. It was for all people; rich or poor, insiders or outsiders, the conformists and the non-conformists, simply there for everyone.
The last figure that is added to The Holy Family story is the Redeemer Cross, a stylised cross that mirrors the little baby figure. It reminds us that through Christ’s death and resurrection now He’s not in one place at one time but in all places at all times, giving the world a hug. At Christmas time, and throughout the year, it can be comforting to have this image of love for all of us.
My prayer is that you experience that warm hug of the little baby Jesus at Christmas time and remember the love of God for all people. May the holidays and the summer be a time of rest, relaxation and a time of joy with family and friend.
On personal note, thank you to everyone at Newington Lindfield for making me feel so welcome in my first year here. I’ve enjoyed getting to know so many boys, staff and parents and I look forward to more great things next year.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Richard La’Brooy