All at Chichester Cathedral would like to wish you a Merry Christmas.
We recognise this will be very different to previous years, but invite you to join our celebrations, much of which is available online. Below, The Dean of Chicheser, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine, reflects upon this period.
Here in the Cathedral it is this wonderful representation of the Nativity to which we are drawn. Many of those who appear as characters in it have particular stories to tell of how the pandemic has enabled them to be there for other people, serving them and helping to meet their particular needs. It is an amazing backdrop against which to come and worship Christ the new-born king, for it speaks of the world of human kindness and human suffering into which Jesus was born.
This particular Christmas the pandemic has reminded us that the world is not perfect and that human beings are vulnerable, that we are part of creation and not rulers of it. The pandemic has brought us news of suffering, and loss, and most recently of people being unable to spend Christmas with loved ones.
But here in the Cathedral we have also proclaimed the hope which the celebration of Christmas gives us. Throughout Advent the Cathedral has been beautifully decorated with green foliage and a plethora of candles, to show us that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it. It was to an imperfect world that God chose to be born to lighten our darkness. It is a love story, a story in which God humbled himself to raise us high, he became poor to make us rich, he became human to make us divine.
We arrive at the manger and there discover a scene of such simplicity: a baby lies in swaddling clothes in a stable more used to sheltering animals, a baby loved by Mary his mother and by Joseph, cared for and cherished. And we see in that child the guarantee in these turbulent times God, who cares for and cherishes this world and each one of us.