December 2013

Lose the Scrooge

Dear Friends,

The end of November/beginning of December is not usually a good time for me. It is a time of denial that the Thing That Happens at the end of December is on its way. At this stage in the year I am grumpy about it being dark so much, I am fretting about the presents I need to buy, I am trying not to think about all the services, I get very cross when the adverts start - but that was in October. I know that many people, perhaps including you, love going on Tinsel and Turkey breaks. I would rather eat my leg.

But by the time of the Nativity and Carol Services, when the Advent wreath is heavy with light, I am always ready to hear again the stories of shepherds and young girls and angels and strange gifts. And wonder again at the strangest gift of all. That God should choose to become one of us - a living, crying, eating, sleeping, nappy wearing, learning, growing fully human being. And he did that in order to show us just how much he loved us. Its a gift for life - not just for Christmas. A gift that makes no sense at all without knowing about death and resurrection too.

And I wonder as well about what it is that makes other people love Christmas so - the sparkly lights and trees and decorations.

I wonder if it is the sense of awe and wonder that we had as children that people want to rediscover in their adult lives.

I wonder if it is the delight in seeking out the perfect gift for someone and anticipating the joy of seeing them open it ( and perhaps looking forward to presents themselves!).

I wonder if it is that hope that this Christmas will be one of peace and love in the family (even if it has never quite worked out before).

And if I, as a Christian spend the whole pre-Christmas period looking glum about all I have to do and moaning that the decorations go up ever earlier each year - what message am I giving out?

I feel that awe and wonder still at Christmas time - especially on Christmas Eve, both at the Pyjama Service and at the Midnight Communion Service. I feel that delight in receiving the gift of Jesus anew in my heart and remembering just what that means. I have that hope for peace and love - not just in my family but for the world too. And I need to share this part of Christmas with others so that they can feel it too. And at a time when people are ready to hear it - which starts in early December by the very latest !

So I am challenging myself to loose the Scrooge. To not pull a face when the C word of Christmas is mentioned. And not sigh when others talk about when they are putting up the tree or share that their present buying is all done. I don’t think I’ll ever go on a Tinsel and Turkey break but you never know.

What I am trying to say is that faith IS at the heart of Christmas and that when we meet people where they are and share that extra dimension that we know that we have, we may be able to pass on that special present of God’s grace, the gift that keeps on giving that is faith in Jesus Christ.

Happy Christmas every one!