This beautiful picture is taken from an original oil painting by the artist, Rev Kip Cooks. Kip has illustrated the children’s storybook In a shed without a bed written by Rev Sally Binymin. All proceeds from this book are to be used to buy gifts for those people who will spend this Christmas living on the streets. In the book, we see Mary and Joseph, homeless refugees, travel to Bethlehem where their baby is ‘born in a shed without a bed.’
On the final page of the book we see people who have visited the newborn baby, leaping with joy as they spread the good news of the birth of God’s Son. In Luke’s gospel 2:10 we read, ‘And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
The reality is that for many people Christmas is not a joyous time of year for many different reasons. As a Church community we have a message of love, a message of a baby who came into the world to show us God’s love and how we can help to build communities built upon Christ’s values of peace, justice for all people, tolerance and understanding. This Christmas we will give out hand-knitted angels to the people in our wider community. Each angel will be adorned with a label that says simply, ‘A gift of love at Christmas.’ We will send boxes of gifts to children through the project Operation Christmas Child, and we will donate toys and food items for families in need. All these actions will witness to the love we receive from Jesus the Christ-child.
John’s gospel 1:14 says, ‘The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son.’ I pray that as 2017 draws to a close and we move into 2018, we will continue as a church family to find ways of giving people a glimpse of the glory of God, that we will continue to work together to bring peace, joy and justice into the lives of others, and that we will continue to proclaim the good news of our Saviour Jesus Christ, born in a shed without a bed.