Is it time for a Christmas rethink? December Magazine Leader

Imagine a post-office queue in December. A customer finally reaches the front of the queue and asks for 50 stamps. The person serving asks: “Do you want the special Christmas nativity stamps?” The woman replied, “Oh no! I can’t stand all that religion, it ruins Christmas!”

The above story was a real conversation. It’s surprising to think that many do not know, or care, about the real meaning of Christmas. If you searched for a book on Christmas then where would you find it: in the fiction section with Winnie the Pooh and Scrooge? Or maybe in the marketing section because of the clever Cola Cola campaign in 1931 that portrayed Santa as a cheerful rotund man in a red suit? Somewhere along the line the story gets muddled up with trees, tinsel and turkeys!

The real Christmas centres on the birth of a baby boy. When you sing a line or two of the Christmas carols, then you begin to realize the enormity of the event. This child’s birth wasn’t just worthy of opening a bottle to celebrate his safe arrival, much to the relief of his proud parents. It also resulted in the songs of angels because of its worldwide significance for two reasons:

1. He came to carry out a rescue operation. His mother Mary was told by an angel of the Lord: ‘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’ (Matthew 1v21). Only Jesus would provide the way of forgiveness so that we can be reconciled to God. This is true for all who recognize what he alone did for us in his voluntary selfsacrifice. It is his work that we are to trust in as the only means of forgiveness for our sins. A true Christmas gift!

2. He came from heaven to earth: ‘all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him “Immanuel” – which means, “God with us” (Matthew 1v22-23). Only Jesus could enable us to know God personally, because he came as God, living amongst us, in flesh and blood.

Christmas celebrates how Jesus offers us a fresh start with God and to know God personally. Have you discovered these amazing things? Whether you have or haven’t we warmly invite you to take time for a rethink about Christmas.

Let’s see how Jesus is at the heart of our celebrations.

Paul Kingman

Christ Church Magazine – December 2013