Canterbury Cathedral is a huge, unmistakeable physical fact: it simply stands there, quietly letting us know how deeply these issues mattered to people not so unlike us. It reminds us that there were some who thought them a matter of life and death – like Thomas Becket, who died as a result of protesting against the king’s absolute claims. Less dramatically, it reminds us of those generations of monks who fervently believed that the best thing they could do for the world was to hold it steadily in prayer, in a daily rhythm of simple living and concentrated quietness.
You can’t fail to recognise that at the very least it’s a great open space for us to come into and discover new things about our human life and possibilities. And Christmas itself is about the arrival of a person whose words and actions and sufferings make that sort of space for us all. It isn’t about the arrival of a new philosophy – or even just a new religion. The compassion that is shown by Jesus is something that takes us as we are and gives us freedom to ask the hardest questions; freedom to grow up, confident that at every stage of our lives we are welcomed and understood and affirmed. Freedom to face our shadows and betrayals as well, because we know that love can always make a fresh start with us.
Read it all.
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