Glad to be supporting the Children's Society at our #Christingle service this morning.
There's no sermon to share, as I spoke off the cuff at this, but we thought about the importance of listening and being listened to. Mary, a teenage mother who no one would have thought was important, found that God had taken notice of her when the angel came to her. He had listened to her and people like her, who needed his help in a world where they were at the mercy of powerful people. She listened to God and understood that, though she might be frightened at the thought of bearing God's son, God loved her and was doing something good for her.
Listening is at the heart of the Children's Society's work - listening to children and young people, refugees and migrants, children who have run away from home or care, children who have disabilities or problems. If you don't listen, you can't help. The Christingle too, speaks to us (not literally - that would be rather worrying!) but through its symbolism. The orange reminds us that the world is in God's hands. The cocktail sticks tell us that whatever season of life, or corner of the world we are in (interpretations vary!) God is with us in them. The sweets remind us that God is the giver of all good things. The red ribbon reminds us that helping others, as Christ did, comes at a cost, but that suffering isn't a sign that something has gone wrong - God can be with us in that too. The candle tells us that God can shine in the darkness, however deep it is.