This Christmas eve I am looking forward to being by the crib at Ely Cathedral. I will be joined by many children who will be engaging with the crib figures, surrounded by straw and probably making quite a mess!
But mostly, the children will be watching and engaging with the Christ Child, the figure of Christ, in the Crib. And every year, the children are fascinated about who he is and what he might mean for them and for all of us.
At this time I am always reminded about how significant it is that we as Christians gather around the crib ourselves to greet the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, who stoops to raise us up to life with him.
In a world which is in a state of flux, both politically and economically, where people are refugees, oppressed and often strangers in their own land, it is good to be reminded that Jesus has come, to be God in our flesh, and who as a baby was also a refugee, driven into Egypt with Joseph and Mary to escape a murderous regime.
This is a God who is with us, who knows our needs and our longings. He comes to take our hand and place it in the hand of his heavenly father.
So we pray that this will give us the strength to link hands with all those in need, with all those who are hurting and crying out for peace. We pray that the Prince of Peace will lead us into a new and hopeful future in which everybody’s humanity can flourish.
And all because we greet Emmanuel, God with us, in that crib.