As I write this piece it is 39 days to Christmas!
The shops are in full Christmas preparation mode, full of trees and glitter, special tempting treats, and the hope of a “perfect” Christmas.
The TV adverts are in full swing, the John Lewis advert is out, and the Aldi carrot family are back again this year.
I have to say that for many years, I aspired to the “perfect” Christmas, the house beautifully clean and tastefully decorated, Christmas pudding and cakes prepared in October(at the latest), wonderful gifts beautifully wrapped under the gorgeous symmetrical real tree, cards sent out at the beginning of December, food purchased and prepared in an ordered and calm manner, Turkey perfectly moist, sprouts perfectly sweet, people perfectly behaved….and so on, and so on.
I have to say that although I aspired to this image of Christmas, in reality, it never happened.
Christmas is often stressful, difficult and unpredictable.
Just like it was for the first ever Christmas.
I don’t think Mary and Joseph would have planned for the arrival of their child by travelling 80 miles away from home at the order of the ruling Roman powers, of having to have the baby while they were away, of having no place except the animals feeding trough to lay him, and having various strangers i.e. local Shepherds, some Eastern Wise Men, visiting unannounced.
The first Christmas must have been stressful, difficult and unpredictable.
But when we hear again the Christmas narrative, we also hear “great tidings of great joy”, “Glory to God in the highest”, “They went praising God” as a response.
Christmas is really about remembering the time when God Almighty came to earth, was born into a human family, He was called Jesus, he would have had a family of Grandparents, Aunties and Cousins etc. and all sorts of friends, he grew up, went to school, learned a trade and went to work.
All the time Jesus was God incarnate, literally “God in the flesh”, hidden among human beings for about 30 years, until he revealed Himself to be the Messiah, the anointed one, who made the lame walk and the blind see. Eventually he made the ultimate sacrifice, dying on the cross in order to put each one of us right with God by obtaining the forgiveness of the sin of the world.
If you stop to think about it, you may have questions, that’s good!
When I stop to think about it, it takes my breath away!
What a wonderful gift God gave to Humankind that first Christmas. That really is the Perfect Christmas.
Let’s really celebrate Jesus, God’s perfect gift to each one of us.
Have a wonderful Christmas
Best Wishes, Rev. Janice