Dear all good afternoon!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
Isaiah 9 6-7.
In the words of the song ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year!’ and as Christmas rapidly approaches our thoughts turn to all the things associated the Christmas season. Over the past few weeks every time someone has mentioned something ‘Christmas related’ I wrote it down until I had 25 things that we associate with Christmas and here they are:
Christmas tree, Christmas dinner, Father Christmas/ Santa, Presents, Cards, The Queen, Bond film, Decorations, Family, End of Term, Christmas jumper, Christmas party, Mince Pies, Christmas pudding, Carol Singing, Crackers, Pigs in Blankets, Turkey, Goose, ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘It’s a wonderful life’, Reindeer, Letter to Father Christmas, Chocolate Advent calendar and The fairy tale of New York……. Oh and one more for luck….. Brussels (Sprouts!).
These are things that friends and family have spoken about in front of me this year- many of the things on the list you will probably have in your mind as being associated with Christmas in your own family or household- there will be things that are not on this list that mean ‘Christmas to you’ for instance if you ask anyone in my extended family what they are looking forward to they will probably say ‘home made stuffing’ that is the highlight of Christmas dinner every year in the household Evans….. (Yummy!)
The truth is that every single household does Christmas differently, for some it is noisy (us) and hectic (again us) for others it is a quiet time that is spent peacefully. Some go away to warmer climes every year, some cook, some get cooked for, some look forward to Turkey others don’t! However you spend Christmas and whatever means Christmas to you is unique to you and your celebration….. some of you may even not like sprouts?
So what is the one thing we have in common at Christmas?? The answer as they say is in the question- the common theme is Christ! The connection that cuts through all the other stuff I listed above and all the things that make this time of year special to you is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ so beautifully predicted around 700 years before his birth in Isaiah 9!
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and saviour and it is this that should be the first thing we think of at this time of year- with this in mind we have been running a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook called the ’25 tweets of Christmas’ focusing on the real and beautiful reason for the season! There is still time for you to see all of the tweets and posts if you check out the details of our twitter/Facebook accounts below!
The birth of Jesus is truly something to be celebrated- when we think about that first Christmas night it was night of celebration excitement and wonder:
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
Luke 2 8-14.
That first Christmas, no mince pies, no tree, no home-made stuffing….. none of the 25 things above! Just the perfect gift given to each of us!
Christmas is a time for giving and sharing- I decided that this year my ‘Chocolate advent calendar’ at work was going to be just a small thing that I shared with others- I have given away every single chocolate to someone in my department this year- and when asked why I simply reply that I am sharing Christmas…. In a small way!
The real and true message of Christmas is Love- God loves us so much that at Christmas he gave us the ultimate gift- one that we didn’t deserve or earn but one that was given to us freely-
‘For God so Loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’
Christmas truly starts with Christ and the message of Christ is that he loves us- this is something that we need to share with others at this ‘most wonderful time of the year’.
So this Christmas enjoy the 25 things above (26 including the sprouts) but don’t let them replace the one important thing-Jesus. It is important to remember the true reason for the season and share that reason with those around you if you can.
So from the Branch Leadership team and our families God Bless you all this Christmas and we look forward to continuing to serve you in 2017.