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Christmas Message from our Central Chaplain, Bishop Emma Ineson
17 Dec 2019
The theme for Mothers’ Union in 2020 is growing in hope and confidence and I find the Christmas story one of the most hope filled stories in all of our faith. The fact that God Almighty came to Earth in the form of a tiny baby and allowed himself to be raised and cared for by an ordinary human family in their very ordinary home, I think gives such a high regard in which God holds the ordinary and people in their everyday lives.
Jesus was born in a small town to a humble woman and her carpenter husband and amongst his first visitors were some humble, lowly shepherds and I think this story shows us that God works through the everyday, through the ordinary, through the unimpressive and through the small things we have to offer him.
I guess many of us feel that when it comes to the things of God that we have little to offer. I know that Mothers’ Union members quite often speak of not doing very much and yet the things that we do offer God can be hugely significant in practical ways, knitting a cardigan, baking a cake, looking after children, opening our homes in hospitality and the Christmas story shows us that God really values those things. He really values the small, ordinary, everyday things that we offer and he makes something amazing out of them.
I think Mary has to be one of the most incredible women in the whole of history. She must have felt so fearful when the Angel Gabriel came to her and said that she was going to bear his son and yet tentatively and humbly, she said yes to God.
I remember the story of Mary being really significant for me when I was exploring a call for ordained ministry. I was pregnant with our first child and didn’t know any women in ministry at that time and I remember thinking how can this be, how is this going to work out, combining motherhood and ministry and then I was sat in church at Christmas and I heard this reading and I heard this story of Mary saying yes to God and I realised that God can work through women like me and all I had to do was say yes and he would do the rest.
So this story of Mary’s humble obedience has always been hugely significant to me. From that day, I think I grew in confidence and in hope. So my prayer for all of the Mothers’ Union members this Christmas is that they would be able to say yes to God, you would be able to give him the small, ordinary things of your lives and that with you He would grow hope and confidence.