From the Minister

 

Merry Christmas.

Err hang on does that give the correct impression? Does ‘Merry’ suggest a picture of excess alcohol and gluttony? Although for many today, this is exactly what Christmas has degenerated into; an excuse for over-enthusiastic indulgence. You see them in the supermarket with trolleys piled high with drinks and food, enough to feed an army for a month and supply a pub for week, rather than for themselves for a day or two! Still I don’t think that it is quite the right picture that I should be encouraging so let me try again!

 

Happy Christmas.

No, I don’t think that this is quite right either. I may be wishing that this Christmas will be a happy one, yet for many Christmas is anything but ‘Happy’. It is sold to us as ‘A time for families’, yet there are many who are alone, or away from their families for one reason or another. For some of them Christmas can be the most painful reminder of how lonely they really are. Others will be reminded of friends, family or partners that have passed away. While all over the country cheers are being heard as children open presents, there will be places where tears are being shed, and hearts breaking.  Then what about the cost of Christmas? Each year the latest toy or gadget is advertised, the ‘must have’ Christmas gift. Yet each year this also costs more and more. No-one wants to let their children down so people find themselves going further into debt to pay for it all. No ‘Happy’ Christmas isn’t right either. So how about …

 

Yuletide Greetings

Hmm now I think we are loosing the plot completely, what on earth does yuletide say to us about the message of Christmas? Yet that and celebrations of ‘Winter-hiliday’; Xmas etc is becoming the norm too. In fact I read somewhere about a conversation overheard on a bus. One woman had seen a Christmas notice outside a church, and commented to her friend “Oh they’re even trying to get religion into Christmas now.”

Maybe this is a reflection on the real problem. That people have forgotten what Christmas is really about!

 

Christmas isn’t about the food, the family, or political correctness, no, Christmas is about God; Emanuel, no less, God with us. Yet I fear that this is not the common experience. Christmas is the story of Christ’s birth, its his story. Of course as we celebrate Christmas at church that’s exactly what we do, tell the story, this year it will happen as folk follow the star; sing carols round the tree, we will tell the story at our during the carol services and during the midnight communion and of course Christmas Day. Times to recall the reason for the season. Yet in our society the idea of God with people, coming into the world to be alongside people still seems forgotten

 

John's Gospel, in good story tradition, opens with the words ‘In the beginning...’ It’s not a new story, it reaches back into eternity, it is rooted in history, yet it is still relevant to us in the Narnia stories, today and, when history runs out of time, His story continues. Then, as C S Lewis put it each chapter is better than the last.  

John never tired of telling Christ's story, so that others could enjoy friendship with God.

So this Christmas let us remember the true meaning of Christmas and be prepared to tell HIS STORY.

Invite your friends to 'make Christmas His story' with you - so that His story may make your Christmas and theirs.

            Rev Rick