The Archbishop of Canterbury's 2014 Christmas sermon

The Archbishop was regrettably not able to deliver it at Canterbury Cathedral this morning due to suffering from a severe cold.

The Christmas story could be told simply with a happy ending where the gospel reading ended. ”˜Shepherds are cold, shepherds see angels, shepherds head into town and see baby, and shepherds disappear into sunrise, happy’. If we end there, Christmas removes us from reality. Christmas becomes something utterly remote, about lives entirely different, fictional, naïve, tidy. That’s not Christmas. Jesus came to the reality of this world to transform that reality – not to take us into some fantasy kind of ”˜happy ever after’ but to ”˜Good News of great joy for all people.’

It is Good News precisely because God addresses the world as it is. Isaiah speaks of warriors and garments rolled in blood, of yokes on people’s shoulders, of oppression. We know that story; it is the lived reality of so many suffering today. Yet Isaiah announces the news of God bringing light, joy, and exultation, through a child!

It is ”˜good news of great joy’ because a helpless baby (who is God) becomes the one who changes this world decisively. Differently to any other figure in human history Jesus breaks in, not to help us escape, but to transform and take hold of our past, our present and our future. This baby brings the promise of forgiveness, the certainty of love and the hope of peace.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christology, Soteriology, Theology

2 comments on “The Archbishop of Canterbury's 2014 Christmas sermon

  1. MichaelA says:

    Yet again, not a word nor even a hint in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, by dying in our place and taking the punishment that we deserved.

    In every sermon he shies away from any mention of judgment, penalty, atonement or salvation.

    The Pope gets it. John Piper gets it. Why can’t the Archbishop of Canterbury get it?

  2. MichaelA says:

    Come to think of it, the people who wrote our Christmas Carols understood it – Jesus’ birth can only be understood in light of his death, because it was for that reason that he came to earth – to die in our place. that is why Christmas time is so precious to us:

    “Remember, Christ, our Saviour
    Was born on Christmas day
    To save us all from Satan’s power
    When we were gone astray”

    “Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
    Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

    “Trace we the Babe, who hath retrieved our loss
    From His poor manger to His bitter cross”

    “No more let sins and sorrows grow,
    Nor thorns infest the ground;
    He comes to make His blessings flow
    Far as the curse is found”

    “O holy Child of Bethlehem
    Descend to us, we pray
    Cast out our sin and enter in
    Be born to us today”