The church column with Rev Dr Susan Pulko
Many people think that the clergy are busy at Christmas, but it's not so.
It’s the run-up to Christmas that’s very busy, but after the midnight and Christmas day services, there’s a bit of a lull.
So, like most of us, after the turkey had been cooked and served, and with a house bursting at the seams with food, I settled back for a rest.
Predictably, that rest involved watching television, so I started a detailed study of the Radio Times.
To my delight I found a ‘piece’ by Miranda Hart. I admired her performance as Chummy and her comedy has me helpless with laughter.
The article was Miranda’s wish list for Christmas.
Her last wish was love and, under that heading, she wrote ‘For that’s what it’s all about…Just know that there is only one of you, and you are loved and appreciated. Spread that love around.’
I’ve no idea about Miranda’s spiritual life, but it seems to me that those words are deeply Christian.
Let’s look at it in a bit more detail.
God’s creative activity brought into being not identical automata, but thinking and feeling individuals, who are all different from one another.
Most of the time we spend our lives in a state of inner tension, part of us wanting to be just like everyone else seems to be, and part of us desperately trying to assert our individuality, and be seen as different from other people.
We can see this in our response to the language used about us: no one wants to be referred to as abnormal, yet we feel it’s a bit of an insult to be described as average.
The trouble is, I suspect, that we don’t like ourselves very much, and people who are different from us highlight the aspects of ourselves that make us uneasy, so we either reject them or try to make them like us.
But we’ve no need to feel this way, because God accepts us totally, and irrespective of our real or perceived faults.
We need to know and feel this acceptance at a very deep level before we can move on to Miranda’s last sentence: ‘Spread the love around.’
Yes, we need to pass on the total acceptance we feel from God to everyone else, and the name we give to that acceptance is love.