The anticipated birth of a royal heir has fairly excited our nation this Christmas time.
The news that the Earl and Countess of Strathearn (our southern readers will know them better as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) are expecting a baby has already occasioned a great deal of media coverage.
Congratulations have poured in from all over the world. What an iconic baby this is: in addition to the continuance of the royal line, this particular child is a public advert for Christian, heterosexual marriage, as well as a symbol of the dignity of the human person from conception.
And a lifetime of media interest awaits this infant who, as one commentator has put it, is still no bigger than a crown jewel in the body of his or her mother.
This Christmas time, however, the royal news prompts two reflections.
First, the privilege which will attend this particular child is light years away from the situation of many thousands of children who will be born into poverty, unstable family relationships and deprived social conditions in our land in 2013. We will not hear about them; no typecast will be wasted on them; the health of their mothers will be a matter of indifference to the rest of us. But they are our future.
The New Testament urges us to remember the poor, and warns us against favouring the rich. We honour the royal family this Christmas time, and add our congratulations to the many others that have come their way; but the bias of the gospel is decidedly in favour of the poor. We have them always with us.
As we spend money this year on gifts, to gratify the pleasures of ourselves and others, let’s remember those many families who are struggling in deprivation and poverty. Let’s give some of our money - and our gifts? - to those who have nothing. Let’s make use of our local charity shops and charity initiatives to support families and children where we can. Let’s swim against the tide of self-indulgence this Christmas, and declare every child to be a royal child!
Second, the widespread interest in the royal child of the house of Windsor is set to eclipse the royal son of the house of David: yet there could be no gospel, no good news for rich or poor, without the miracle of the incarnation.
That is a subject that deserves publication and consideration now and all year round: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. That is our message. Jesus did not save us by being born; but he could not have done so without being born into our world, in a low condition, that he might die for us and be given the glory that is rightly his.
Let us address ourselves to the task of making our royal baby, King Jesus, more famous than any other, so that the words of the ancient Psalm might be fulfilled:
His name for ever shall endure
last like the sun it shall;
men shall be blessed in him, and blessed
all nations shall him call.
God bless you at this year end.
Iain D Campbell