Thursday, December 14, 2006

Advent 12

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(John 1:1-14, New International Version)

One of the things that I love about being British is that we come from pretty much everywhere else.

Take, for example, the Netherlands. There is a long history of immigration from Holland to England: Dutch merchants, entrepreneurs of manufacturing and industry, the drainage engineers who reclaimed the Fens from the sea, and even monarchy…a tidal stream of people crossing the North Sea, fanning out far and wide, but concentrating in East Anglia, whose sub-marine fields and wide open skies reminded them of whence they had come. And swept along in the stream, a Gogh, who came, and settled in Norfolk; had children and grandchildren who were born, married, died, and somewhere down the line Anglicised the family name to Gooch; and on, until the name is currently borne by my good friends and close neighbours Brian and Amanda…

God moved into the neighbourhood. And though, like most incomers, he experienced the xenophobia of the established community, he decided to stay. To establish a family. To become embedded in the community, enhancing it, influencing its evolution.

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