December 2010

posted 12 Dec 2010, 00:50 by Richard Jones   [ updated 12 Dec 2010, 00:59 ]
The Vicar writes . .


DO YOU REMEMBER the excitement of Christmas Eve when you were little? The letter to Father Christmas, the feeling of unbearable tension, the desperate attempt to keep awake that always failed?

Do you remember waking up on Christmas morning to the bulging stocking or pillowcase with its odd projecting shapes?
Do you remember
when you had children of your own - creeping in with their presents, their joy in the morning in the gifts they got and gave?
Do you remember
the people who used to share our Christmas happiness and who are no longer with us?
Do you remember?
- The Ghost of Christmas Past is never far away at this time of year.

Do you remember?


Of course you do. But is that all that Christmas is - a kind of exercise in nostalgia? If it is, then sooner or later it’ll fade. Other memories will overlay it and finally blot out much of what has meant so much to us. The Christmas Story would be like that too, if all it was was a remembrance of events of long ago.

It’s the present that really matters. Unless the Christmas Gospel is relevant; not just to us, but those who for most of the year we’d rather not think about: those whose countries are ravaged by war, the poor and the hungry, and also to our anxieties: unemployment, the mortgage, teenage rebels, approaching old age or nagging sorrow, it’s not really relevant at all.
But is there any one answer to all of that?
- I think there is.
The answer, the only answer, is love.

It’s easy enough to love those who love us. But how are we to love the unlovely, our enemies, the undeserving, the unlovable?

We’ll learn to do that only when we learn that it’s we who are the undeserving, the unloved, the unlovable, and that we are loved by the eternal God. And that’s the message of Christmas, that God loves each one of us just as if we really were worth loving, just as if there was no-one else to love. And that love is finally triumphant. The Christmas story is only the beginning of the Gospel. It goes on to Calvary and to Easter morning where we see that the love which came down at Christmas was finally victorious.

That’s why Christmas is as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago. That’s why it is as relevant to the old as to the young, to the sad as to the glad, to the rich as to the poor. For nothing that happens to us can finally destroy us if we know that God loves us forever, and finally that nothing, not even death itself, can withstand that love.

Have a very happy Christmas and may God’s blessing be with you all.

Paul
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