Christmas greetings from the President of the Methodist Conference

The President of the Methodist Church in Britain sends thefollowing message for Christmas 2002:

Christmas always makes me stop and think - even in the midst ofthe busyness! This year I have been caught up with the crowds ofpeople - no new thing for Bethlehem was a somewhat crowded place!In the midst of everything the God of surprises draws upon anamazing collection of people from innkeepers to shepherds;visitors from other countries to venerable worshippers in theTemple. A microcosm of today's Britain!

Christmas is the celebration of God amongst us. This challengesme for here is God taking and sharing a risk. Entering humanity asa vulnerable child and involving people who had no street cred, asGod gives dignity to human life.

I need constantly to remind myself of this fact where oursociety seems to remove dignity, when attitudes invite me to viewothers as sinister forces or to blame them for the sadness oftoday's world. Christmas is God in the midst of the people offeringHope, Dignity and Opportunity. As we stand at an uncertain time inInternational Relations, as we celebrate, may we also know thepresence 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