A favourite group of mine is the Carnival Band with Maddy Prior. They have a song called ‘Stuff’. Some of the words are:-
Christmas time is here again,
Time for family, time for friends,
Time for church bells, time for snow,
Tinsel, robins, firelight glow,
There is time, but not enough –
To get ourselves a load of stuff.
The song goes on to parody our greed at Christmas.
During my Local Preacher training, we were introduced to the Charles Wesley’s Hymn (H & P 109) Let Earth & Heaven Combine. The last two lines in the first verse are:-
Our God contracted to a span,
incomprehensibly made man.
For me, this had a profound effect in my walk with the Lord. The fact that our God was reduced to a hand span (you can hold a baby in the span of your hand) and that we cannot comprehend why he did this. Yet he did this because he LOVES us. He gave his Son to be born and die for everyone.
As Christians, how do we see this season of Advent and Christmas? Advent (Lat. adventus, “coming, arrival) is the time of year when we prepare for the arrival of the Christ Child. But how do we prepare for this? This preparation can take many forms. It often involves the infamous School Nativity Play, or is our Christmas tree better than our neighbours? Or as Christians, do we feel superior to the worldliness of Advent and Christmas? I wonder what kind of picture of Jesus we present, not just in our churches but as individual Christians.
We see many nativity scenes presented to us. A very wise minister once asked our church, What is your Image of Jesus? Is it the baby in the manger? Then, over the years, has your image of Jesus changed? If it has not, then you are not maturing in the faith. Jesus changed from a baby to a man who died on the cross in pain for YOU. If we are growing in faith, then Jesus must grow with us. In this Advent season, I urge everyone to examine themselves and see where we are with Jesus.
We have a wonderful opportunity at this time of year to share Jesus with the world, both as Churches and Individuals. H&P 465 says:-
We have a gospel to proclaim,
Good news for all throughout the earth.
In this time of the year, let us spread the word ‘The Christ has come’, wherever we are.
A very Happy Christmas to everyone.
Lay Pastoral Visitor and Co-ordinator