27/11/11 From the Minister’s Christmas Tree. Most people start the New Year with resolutions, mine come in early December
We all need to say to ourselves from this point on ‘Christmas is wonderful’, because it is. The colour, the carols, mince pies and the excitement of children and their expectation should lift our hearts. The annual recollection of God’s gift to everyone is our big opportunity to say something that might lead others to faith. It is a personnel reflection for believers to come close to thank God for sending Jesus.
This year we have celebrated 400 years of the King James Bible. I am a great believer in people being moved by simply reading scripture and finding God in the experience. Sitting by a roaring fire with a mince pie, something to drink and reading the Christmas story will do more for many of us than many other aspect of Christmas. Considering the promises made and kept; recognising the vulnerability of a baby born in the midst of turmoil amongst ordinary people tells us an important truth. God’s word is true and it is for all people. The layers of understanding that follow that revelation should overtake the distractions of the season. So stoke up the fire and put the kettle on before everything crowds in and distracts you. Read the word and remember why people started to celebrate Christmas, albeit on the back of other celebrations in the dark nights of winter.
When we hear again of visits from angels, Mary’s frailty and Joseph’s struggle we will ponder their confusion in what was happening in their lives. The cruelty of Herod and the interest of the Magi may lead us to think that events were being led by greater forces than men engaged in politics and pilgrimage. We are told the story of our Creator who loves us enough to send his own son into this treacherous world but not with the fanfare and vulgarity of power that has become the spirit of our age. Instead a child comes into being in humble surroundings. He grows and lives a life that could be described as ordinary. Jesus then provides three years of discomfort for many religious leaders while bringing sheer joy to ordinary people. He brings hope to everyone who accepts his message for life – for every life. That message is simple. God will forgive us because Jesus has paid the price for each of us. It means at the end of our life heaven will be our home, we will not be separated from God and all those who have believed. It also means that in this life we can continue to grow close to God our Father.
How people had waited on the Messiah for an answer to their fears and confusion. How they had prayed to God for his intervention. Time to repeat that phrase again ‘Christmas is wonderful’. We have seen the answer to their prayers. We know the details of the one who has changed the world. He is the answer today to all our ills, fears and loneliness.
So ‘Christmas is wonderful’ and at the Carol Service and on Christmas Day I intend to say just that – should make for two very quick services then!! Do invite all your friends.
A very Happy Christmas to everyone and a Peaceful New Year.
From Brian, Sara, Charlotte, Emily and Flora