Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Knowing what it feels like

A doctor friend of mine told me that one of his most important experiences was being a patient, in fact he recommends it as part of a medics training. Suddenly you're looking at ceilings, while everybody else looks down on/at you. Personal items are confined to a small cupboard, and you're largely isolated among strangers.

Then there's coping with acute pain, the fuzziness when recovering from a general anaesthetic, and a sense of helplessness. It could be all routine observations for a doctor, nurse, or any one of many whose skills are essential in our health care services. But it's not routine if you're a patient. Being there for people means understanding what it's like for them.

That's exactly why Christmas is so important. God didn't remain, as if watching from a distance, but got involved in the life of our planet by being born just like all of us. In the short journey from the comfort of Mary's womb, Jesus had to adjust to cold, light, air, milk, smell, with very different senses of touch and sound ~ as we did.

What this means is that we can relate to God, because he related to us. If we know anguish, so did Jesus. We might feel trapped inside our body because of a stroke or frailty. He was trapped by nails driven through him and into the rough wood of a Roman gallows. In virtually every experience we can connect to something Jesus Christ knew.

Jesus loved life, and enjoyed the company of a huge range of characters. His first miracle turned large quantities of water into wine, a sign of how important wedding parties are. He told many a story to illustrate the truth, and often used humour. Camels feature, and something about them clearly amused him. He would certainly join these two in having a good laugh.

So this Christmas, whatever our circumstances, I pray we all make a fresh connection with the Creator of the Universe. Thank God he got involved in our story.

Have a fantastic celebration.