Firstly - there is a real sense of joy that Christmas is now upon us. The celebrations begin and all has been made ready. There is no more rushing about, no more preparing, no more shopping, no more panic and mayhem that this time of the year can bring.
Secondly - Advent is over, the season of darkness has passed and we are now in the Season of Light. This reminds us that the darkness of sin no longer has dominion over us. The Baby of Bethlehem - the Christ Child, entered the world for one purpose, to die for our sins.
In one Church building I have seen the nativity scene placed below the Christmas Tree, thus reminding us that Jesus is the greatest gift that has been given to us. In another I saw the nativity scene placed in front of a Cross, encouraging us to consider the purpose for which Jesus came - to die for the sins of the world. The Gospel of Matthew points us to this. “She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins”.
As you celebrate Christmas, and get involved in all the festivities that it brings, do you consider what this one day is all about? Is it really just about the Turkey, the Presents, the Cards, the Decorations, the long queue in Asda, etc? For me, No, it is about far more than that. It is a day set aside to allow me to celebrate with my family and friends the wonderful miracle of knowing that my sins are forgiven, and that when Jesus comes again, I can be sure that I will be with Him in Heaven.
Christmas is all about Love. The Love of God towards us, the Love of God in us, and the Love of God working through us, as we reach out to a broken world. As the hymn states:
Love came down at Christmas,
love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
star and angels gave the sign.
May I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very happy and Christ-filled Christmas.