Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy Christmas and the annual religous thought for the year.

So it’s Christmas, again, it seems to happen at the same time every year-can’t avoid it.

A friend of mine was telling me of their outrage when a close relative sent them a gospel of St. John and religious Christmas card for Christmas. They objected to this Bible bashing and they felt insulted by such overt evangelism. The very fact that my friend was so upset about someone trying to bring Christ in to Christmas set me thinking, how do I who is supposed to be a bible believing Christian bring a Christmas message in to the murky world of politics. Strangely this started me thinking about my political year and came to the conclusion that it had been a curate’s egg of one – Good in parts.

I started thinking that some things had gone really well this year, I enjoyed the General Election campaign in Henley and was pleased to come third, no really, I feel very proud to have completed an MA and graduated, other things however have not gone so well. I started to think about the encounters I have had with people this year, and here I found a more bruising vein. I recalled that I have had some difficult relationships, where I have let people down and others where people, often political opponents, seem to have gone out of the way to spill bile and anger in my direction.

This has formed my thoughts about Christmas and how do I, as someone who is politically active, show Christ in politics. Last year, at Christmas, I talked about the passage from Isaiah 61 but this year I am more interested in what Christs’ message is about forgiveness.

It seems to me that on both sides of the political fence there is a place for forgiveness. Despite the political ding dong and struggle I believe that if I want to re enter the political world I probably need to be able to slake off the slings and arrows that my political opponents throw.

Christ himself said, in what is known as the Lord’s prayer, (Luke 11):

“When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

The key section is, “ Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us….”

So forgiveness is available for all sides of the political debate and all of us actually. I hope you can forgive me for where I have failed and those of you who have thrown brick bats at me on their blogs, in Twitter or in their little cabals of tittle tattle around Reading and elsewhere, I forgive you.

Forgiveness is a dreadful thing, I think it entails remembering the thrown brick bat but giving responsibility for the hurt up to the Lord. It’s a hard thing to do, but to start 2011 with an unburdened soul I am constrained by the words of the Lord’s prayer to forgive and ask for forgiveness.

I do so in the hope that, as it says elsewhere in the Bible: “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us” but “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I am not perfect, no really I’m not, however I can go forward in to 2011 within the safety net of forgiveness.

So that’s what seems important at Christmas 2010 to me, I hope that you, where ever you are and what ever you are up to this Christmas, have a fantastic Christmas and come back to 2011 refreshed and ready for what ever is ahead of you.