Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased: Luke 2:14

 

Robins nested in my garage earlier this year, so I let them be until the young had fledged and left the nest. Robins are obviously church-minded, since last year’s national papers published stories about one robin nesting among the hymn books at St Aldate’s, Gloucester and another  in the rafters at St Mary’s, Church, Portchester.  Indeed the Portchester robin was recorded as singing along with the choir to the delight of everyone.

 

There is a long history of robins being celebrated in story, poem and song.  For example in the classic story of Babes in the Wood it is robins that cover the lost children with leaves to keep them warm.  I also like the Christmas story that the robin acquired his red breast, when he tried to keep the Christ child warm, by using his wings to fan the fire into action.  Unfortunately he was too successful and scorched his breast.

 

There is also an old English legend that the robin was the first bird to sing to the Christ child.  That probably has its roots in the fact that the robins, unlike other birds, go on singing heartily throughout the winter. I certainly have fond memories of hearing robins sing one Christmas morning.

 

Singing was important to mark the birth of a boy in biblical times; the whole village would gather and sing in celebration of the new birth. Christ was not born, however, in his mother’svillageofNazareth, but inBethlehem, far away from home.  Nobody knew the Holy Family and the birth passed unnoticed to most of the people crammed intoBethlehem.

 

Famously, however, the angels marvelled that God should choose to be born as a little child and they sang His praises in the fields above the shepherds.

 

Robins sing in all weathers and the joy of God stepping into our human shoes at Christmas should make us want to rejoice all the year round too.

 

Father Michael

Posted By: valerie

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