30/11/12 From the Minister’s Christmas Tree - Don’t get too bogged down with Christmas distractions this year.
I fear I will be soon too busy to grasp whether it is Christmas time or not because at church and at home the juggernaut which is December will come thundering over us all. Hand’s up anyone who feels the same.
However, when I sit and read the Christmas story through each year I can’t help but smile and rejoice at how quiet it all seemed for most of the ‘cast’. It didn’t impact on many who were in the community and yet various people travel; travel some distance but it’s all so simple. It is wondrous and those who do witness Christ’s coming are moved and content by what they find. Fast forward thirty or so years and hear what Jesus has to say and marvel at what he does and we remember why Christmas is such a celebration. If you take seriously what Christ says life begins to make a lot of sense. Forgiveness, healing, end of life knowledge and a personnel calling are all headlines of the Gospel, – who wouldn’t want to celebrate that in their own life. But people are separated from this story, caught up by the juggernaut that will have them at New Year’s Eve before they can blink. The fact that this experience is shared inside and outside the church is a harsh reminder that we are missing the point. Christmas is a joyful time!!
Many have become experts though in not enjoying life, everything is an effort. Joy is in short supply. Even things which should be enjoyable are viewed as hassle. Life is too busy for many individuals. Last year I was particularly hectic at one stage and one day it dawned on me I needed to take the bike out for a run. I had been too busy to use it or too loaded with bags for it to make sense. Worried about the battery going flat I soon found myself out on the road feeling like I was taking the dog for a walk in the rain – on a fine day. Something that should have been pleasure was just one more thing to do. If I can feel like that about something I actually love doing then it’s easy to see where others find themselves. Life is worth more than this surely, God is show us the bigger picture if we will give him a moment.
So why not take the time as I recommend each year to read the story in the beginning of Matthew and Luke for yourself. Look again at God’s gift to all people and notice those who were present at Christ’s birth. They held an expectation for the Messiah. They had hope and were waiting for God’s action. Even when they saw the child this waiting and expectation had to continue. For Christians today we wait on the return of Christ or the end of our own lives to fully realise God’s saving gift for each of us. While you ponder this be reminded that the carols speak of Joy and Hope. Think in their terms not world terms and hopefully the celebration of Christmas will suddenly feel right.
We need to thrust the real meaning of Christmas onto others so send Christmas Cards with Nativity scenes on them. This is not an easy task these days. Why not ask the shops to get some in stock and challenge them for not supplying them. Invite family and friends to the Christmas services and come and help on Saturday 8th Dec in the morning when we do our Christmas outreach. And don’t get too bogged down with Christmas distractions this year.
And however you spend the festival we wish you all a very Happy Christmas.
Brian, Sara, Charlotte, Emily and Flora