A Christmas message from the Dean of Derby

John Davies, The Dean of Derby

John Davies, The Dean of Derby - Credit: Archant

The Hidden Hero of the Christmas Story

In churches across Derbyshire in coming weeks the Christmas story will once again be heard and celebrated. Some figures will be very visible: Christ in Mary’s arms; Joseph standing loyally by; the shepherds and wise men; the animals looking on.

But there is a hidden character who made all the difference. Potentially this little family was homeless, destitute. It’s odd that extended family didn’t take them in. But for whatever reason they were on the streets until someone was both creative and generous. The inn was full. But the inn keeper saw their plight. He thought of the stable. And there the child was born, not on the streets.

The story invites us to be like the innkeeper, creative and generous in turn to those who look like the least but are in fact most prized in the eyes of the divine. In the coming weeks lunches will be packed in churches and taken out to those at risk of going without at a time of festivity. The homeless are being gathered into cathedrals, churches and church halls, being fed, and then offered a place of safety for the night. The least are being prized. The Christmas story is being acted out. Anyone can join in this activity. All it requires is creativity and generosity. Perhaps the Cathedral crib this year really should include the figure of the innkeeper, looking over the scene of the birth in the stable.

The Very Revd Dr John Davies DL

Dean of Derby