Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

21 December 2016

Wednesday 21 December

[Matthew 10: 32-42]

Tough Love

Many people will say ‘Christmas is a lovely family time’, or ‘It’s all about the children really’. But today’s passage gives a much less cosy image of the demand of God’s Kingdom on our lives and relationships. The love that came down in Jesus of Nazareth at Christmas is a dynamic and revolutionary appearing to be reckoned with. Joseph had already had to deal with its disruptive challenge to established relationships, when he heard the angel’s message.

We not only have to get our priorities right about possessions, but also about our relationships with each other and with God. And the choices can be painful. I remember reading a heart-breaking story about a mother who had shopped her drug-addict son to the police after he began a criminal career to finance his habit. She loved her son, but she also believed in justice, and she feared that if she did nothing he would continue his downward spiral. The family was divided over her decision, but eventually her son understood that she had acted out of a love which hoped for his restoration. God’s love can sometimes be tough, but he cares more deeply than anyone about our true safety. Can we love enough to make the right decisions?


For further reflection, please read Tom Wright – Advent for Everyone, A Journey Through Matthew, pages 104-108