Rev'd Charles - December 2017

posted 2 Jan 2018, 06:56 by Richard Jones   [ updated 2 Jan 2018, 06:56 ]

View From the Vicarage 

Describe Christmas in Three Words! 

Now that’s a challenge, so what might we say? Last minute shopping, eating too much, filling a stocking, holly and ivy or simply friends and family. But what about the words ‘Christ is born’? Where do these three words fit in? For many, the answer is they don’t, and yet for Christians there are three other words about Christmas that we would like to share with our families, friends and neighbours, and these are: Historical, Joyful and Essential! 

 1 Christmas is Historical: it really happened. 

Jesus is not some mythical make believe character. St Luke, who based his account on information from eyewitnesses, carefully investigated everything (Luke 1:1-4) and came to the conclusion that there had never been anyone else like Jesus. St Peter said the same (2 Peter 1:16)

Jesus lived a life of astonishing power and humility, authority and kindness, self sacrifice and compassion. He performed extraordinary miracles which even his enemies couldn’t deny (John 9) and having died for us, God raised him from the dead (1 Peter 1:21) In fact, he appeared to over 500 people in the days following his resurrection (Luke 24, 1 Corinthians 15) 

 2 Christmas is Joyful: God really cares. 

As the angelic messenger said, ‘I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today a Saviour has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 1:8-20). Christmas tells us that God, the creator of this incredible universe, loves us (Colossians 1). Why else would he have come in Christ, leaving all the glory of heaven, to be born as a man in the midst of a sinful and suffering world. This is surely a great reason to be joyful: God really cares and demonstrates that care in action. And the knowledge of this can be of enormous strength and encouragement when difficulties arise. 

 3 Christmas is Essential: it really matters. 

Jesus didn’t just come to earth to demonstrate God’s love; he came to achieve an urgent rescue. The apostle Paul, one of the greatest early Christian leaders tells us: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’, and he did that by taking the punishment we deserve for not letting God be God in our lives, by dying in our place (Romans 3:23, 5:8). That is why he is called ‘Jesus’ because Jesus means Saviour (Matthew 1:21). But his death for us on the cross will mean nothing unless we respond in repentance, faith and trust. Indeed our eternal future, said Jesus, depends on the decision we make about him, now while we are still alive (John 5:24, 39-40, 14:6). That is why Christmas is so important. It really matters.     

For ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season’ so this year why not put CHRIST back into CHRISTmas. Make time for your creator and saviour. Come and learn more about him. For at the heart of Christmas is God’s heart of love. That is why there are three other words with which we could close. Three other words which tell us what Christmas is all about and they are God Loves You. Now that is something to celebrate and enjoy– and not just now but throughout the coming New Year.