20 December 2002
Christmas greetings from the President of the Methodist Conference
The President of the Methodist Church in Britain sends the following message for Christmas 2002:
Christmas always makes me stop and think - even in the midst of the busyness! This year I have been caught up with the crowds of people - no new thing for Bethlehem was a somewhat crowded place! In the midst of everything the God of surprises draws upon an amazing collection of people from innkeepers to shepherds; visitors from other countries to venerable worshippers in the Temple. A microcosm of today's Britain!
Christmas is the celebration of God amongst us. This challenges me for here is God taking and sharing a risk. Entering humanity as a vulnerable child and involving people who had no street cred, as God gives dignity to human life.
I need constantly to remind myself of this fact where our society seems to remove dignity, when attitudes invite me to view others as sinister forces or to blame them for the sadness of today's world. Christmas is God in the midst of the people offering Hope, Dignity and Opportunity. As we stand at an uncertain time in International Relations, as we celebrate, may we also know the presence of the God of peace in the midst of us.
May the Peace and Presence of God be with you.
The Rev Ian T White,
President of the Methodist Conference