Christmas Message From Bishop Nicholas Dill

December 24, 2019

Bishop Nicholas Dill Bermuda Dec 2019[Christmas message from Bishop Nicholas Dill]

I was reminded of it when serving a Christmas meal to a room full of Seniors the other day, some of whom were unable to feed themselves and whose only adornment was the paper napkin tucked into their sweater. Then again, I was reminded more powerfully when feeding someone else’s new-born baby on the 2:00 am night shift. Finally, someone sent me a song of 150 small children’s voices – this time they were all survivors of online child sex abuse at a Christmas gathering in Manila – and I was reminded once more. Reminded of what? The equal value and vulnerability of all human beings.

We live in a world where too often people are seen as commodities, economic or even sexual objects for the use and enjoyment of others – from sweat shops to modern day slaves. People are labelled in such a way as to reduce their humanity and dignity. People categorise themselves or others and identify themselves or others in ways which dehumanize and objectify them. But the Christmas story changes all of that and undermines a truth about our human condition and identity.

When God chose to come to his world – he entered as a baby- born of a teenage girl under a cloud of scandal, in a place of weakness and rejection, an outsider – soon to become a political refugee. He came dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl, held by the calloused hands of a carpenter. Totally vulnerable in birth – and ultimately in his death – submitting himself to the evil plans of others. Each human person regardless of race or gender, age or competency, health or weakness, ability or disability is of equal value is made in the image and likeness of God – with a value that is inherent. Each is valued so much and loved by God so much that he was willing to send his own Son to come and live a human life – born in the fulfilment of a promise in a place called Bethlehem and to die at the hands of humans outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem. He restored dignity to all with whom he had to do – especially the unseen, the forgotten, the outsiders and untouchable. At his birth angels sang the praises of God – whilst at his death crowds bayed for his blood. But it was in his plan to come for our salvation, to come and restore our value despite our vulnerability.

God loves you, not because you are beautiful, clever, witty or successful. God loves you despite your sins and failures. His love enables you to be free from guilt, fear and death – to be forgiven and transformed as you come to the one he sent.

My Christmas wish for all is to know the love of God, to know your true worth and identity in him, that in your vulnerability you would experience his grace – but also that we as a community would value one another as he does- that we would see the worth of the other and support and protect one another – particularly the vulnerable. May this Christmas and the year and decade that lies ahead find us all living at peace, with respect for our differences and weaknesses – loving one another practically, sacrificially and in truth, whether they be friends or whether we perceive them as enemies. In so doing we will be emulating the one who came at Christmas to Bethlehem and who comes as we invite him into our hearts and homes. May God bless you and your families this Christmas time and forever.

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