At the beginning of another day of work as Chaplain at the University I sat down to eat my cereal while watching Breakfast News, and found two images equally shocking. The first was of the young Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes surrounded by teammates after being felled by a bouncer. The second was of a person being wheeled away on a stretcher from a supermarket after being injured (presumably by other shoppers) in the Black Friday crush. What is going on? We seem to have become a society that has got all its priorities wrong.
As we approach Christmas, what should our values be as a caring community? Surely one human life is far more important than a game or even a bargain. What should be more important: winning a game at all costs and getting a ‘precious’ bargain at the expense of another, or, thinking of others ahead of ourselves?. In the letter to the Philippian church there is a paragraph that carries those very words: ‘in humility consider others better than yourselves’.
It goes on to detail what we celebrate at Christmas, that Jesus Christ, because he considered us (fallen humanity) of such great value, that he took on our human likeness and became a human being – even a fragile baby in a manger. And why did he do that? So that we could be free, free to make choices about how we live, how we value others, may we have His values this Christmastime.
The Revd Bruce Goodwin, Chaplain at the University of Gloucestershire