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Bishop of Coventry's Christmas Broadcast

The following Christmas Day message was broadcast by the Bishop of Coventry on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio.

Today – Christmas Day – churches up and down the land will proclaim these astounding words from the Bible: "The Word was made flesh and lived among us".

The Word that dwells in God comes to dwell with us.

God’s own reality, God’s own self, God’s own Son left his home of heaven to make his home on earth ...among us, beginning in the womb of Mary.

But by the whim of Government, Mary was forced to leave her home and journey to another town, where there would be no room for her to give birth in human habitation.  Jesus’ first home was a cattle shed, and his bed was where the animals fed.

Then the violence of a despot caused Mary and Joseph to flee to another land, and Jesus spent his early years in a country that was not his own.

Later in life, Jesus was to say of himself, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head".  And when he died, he was buried in a borrowed tomb.

Homeless from heaven.  Homeless on earth.

How he must feel for the 500 or more children classified as homeless in Coventry, part of the 100 million people homeless in the world.

The remarkable thing was that people found themselves at home with Jesus, the homeless man, and at home with Jesus, they knew they were at home with God.

People who had felt far from God: the suffering, the grieving, the poor, and yes, a good number of people who had messed up in some sort of way, or hurt others, and were in trouble – they felt they had come home.

God’s Christmas present to us, is God’s presence with us.  God reaching out to us.  God living among us.  God being homeless so that we might find our home in God.

Christmas invites us to find our home in the heart of God’s love.

And Christmas calls us to reach out to the homeless person, especially the child, for Jesus once said, "As you do it for the least of these who are members of my family, so you do it to me".

May your Christmas be under the shelter of God’s care, and may you give shelter to others.

Happy Christmas!

The Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth

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