Archbishop attacks pressure to be perfect

|PIC1|The Archbishop of Wales has criticised TV programmes like the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing for putting pressure on people to be perfect.

In his Christmas Day sermon at Llandaff Cathedral on Thursday, the Archbishop contrasted the desire for perfection with the reality of Christ’s birth, warning that people were missing the real meaning of the season.

“Christmas is not about perfection, viewed either from the human or divine perspective,” he said.

“It is not about a baby, born in pristine condition, into a perfect world. It is about God in Christ coming into a messy world, precisely because it is all messed up.

“And the trouble with us is that we are so hooked on looking for perfection, that we are in danger of failing to understand the true significance of this feast.”

While Christmas cards, carols and programmes like the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing perpetuate the ideal of perfection, the Archbishop said Jesus focussed on people’s imperfections and spent his time with those in pain, suffering, doubt and grief.

He reminded the congregation that God was with still with the afflicted today, including those in war zones or facing the dole queue.

“Christmas is not about escapism into some perfect world – it is about the real world, God dealing with the world as it is where so much is wrong, where there is so much pain, suffering and anguish.

“God loves the world in all its brokenness – the awfulness of unresolved conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan; the desperation of Zimbabweans as they struggle against a tyrannical President; the trauma of all affected by the atrocities at Mumbai, the despair of the Congo on the brink of civil war; the hardship faced by many poor people because of the credit crunch.”

The Archbishop assured the congregation of God’s comfort in difficult times.

“God, of course, cannot wave a magic wand and make it all go away but what He does is to come among us as He did in Jesus and assures us that he shoulders our burdens alongside us,” he said.

“He is to be found amidst the poor, marginalised and distressed, supporting and upholding them with His love. Through Jesus, He shows us and reminds us of what it is like to be truly human, living out a life of compassion, solidarity and love and refusing to use the weapons of retaliation and force.

“Through Jesus, he also shows us what divine love is like committed to this imperfect world and struggling to put it right.”

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