Archbishop Rowan Williams’ 2011 Christmas sermon

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is the question we cannot ignore. It's been well said that the first question we hear in the Bible is not humanity's question to God but God's question to us, God walking in the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden, looking for Adam and Eve who are trying to hide from him. 'Adam, where are you?' The life of Jesus is that question translated into an actual human life, into the conversations and encounters of a flesh and blood human being like all others – except that when people meet him they will say, like the woman who talks with him at the well of Samaria, 'Here is a man who told me everything I ever did.' Very near the heart of Christian faith and practice is this encounter with God's questions, 'who are you, where are you?' Are you on the side of the life that lives in Jesus, the life of grace and truth, of unstinting generosity and unsparing honesty, the only life that gives life to others? Or are you on your own side, on the side of disconnection, rivalry, the hoarding of gifts, the obsession with control? To answer that you're on the side of life doesn't mean for a moment that you can now relax into a fuzzy philosophy of 'life-affirming' comfort. On the contrary: it means you are willing to face everything within you that is cheap, fearful, untruthful and evasive, and let the light shine on it. Like Peter in the very last chapter of John's gospel, we can only say that we are trying to love the truth that is in Jesus, even as we acknowledge all we have done that is contrary to his spirit. And we say this because we trust that we are loved by this unfathomable mystery who comes to us in the shape of a newborn child, 'full of grace and truth'.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics

3 Comments
Posted December 25, 2011 at 9:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. MichaelA wrote:

At first glance, it seems a good sermon.

By contrast, the Queen’s Christmas speech is much less theological, yet in only a few words she manages to sum up the most important issues arising from the birth of Christ.

December 25, 7:14 pm | [comment link]
2. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

#1 Yes - a great Christmas message from HM.  Happy Christmas.

December 25, 7:57 pm | [comment link]
3. MichaelA wrote:

Thanks PM, much obliged.  The Queens speech is worthy of being published on T19, Stand Firm, Virtue Online and other blogs. She is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and I have received a number of positive comments about the religious content of her speech.

December 27, 8:27 pm | [comment link]
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