Rector's Reflections - 5 December

Rector’s Reflections   Tuesday 5th December 2023

A Favourite Advent Hymn

Yesterday, I introduced one of my favourite Advent hymns: “Creator of the stars of night”, the first verse of which reads as follows:

“Creator of the stars of night,

Thy people’s everlasting light,

O Jesu, saviour of us all,

Regard thy servants when they call.”


This opening verse focuses straightaway on the theological significance of Jesus.  It’s saying that as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we’re looking forward to celebrating some who wasn’t just a famous person from the past, a well-known teacher or a good person who helped the to make the world a better place. For Jesus was so much more than this: He was and is a unique figure, endowed with all the fulness of God Himself.

Jesus is and was the Creator of the Universe: in and through Him, God created all that is and all that will be. So our hymn starts: ”Creator of the stars of night.”  How does Jesus perform this work of creation and re-creation? As a Christian committed to Science, I believe that Jesus works through all the forces familiar to the world of science – the physical laws which govern the universe. When we do science we are investigating God at work in Jesus! This is one reason why I am so committed to bringing the world of faith and the world of science together: they are simply different ways of investigating God’s world.

As well as our Creator, Jesus provides us with the light we need to make good decisions, in our lives as individuals and for the well-being of our communities and pour world. Jesus is indeed the Light of the World. But we need to be prepared to recognise this light, and allow it to guide us through the challenges of light.  If someone hands you a torch, you need to use it – if you leave it behind in the kitchen drawer, it’s not going to be much help to you on a dark winter’s night. So the second line of our hymn reads: “Thy people’s everlasting light”.

And finally, Jesus is our “Saviour”: that is, he is someone who helps and cares for us,  who brings us health and healing, who delivers us from the forces of death and gives us the gift of new life and new beginnings. And so the third line of our hymn reads: “O Jesu, Saviour of us all”.  Jesus is committed to our well-being. He is on our side.

So our Advent hymn starts by stating three things about the significance of Jesus : he is our Creator; he is our Guide; and he is our Saviour.  I wonder what we might say, if we were asked to sum up the significance of Jesus in three words? What words would we choose?


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