Letter for December

The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:5

In Australia they celebrate Christmas in July! It may seem odd and even funny to us (it was!) but it’s true! While we were in Melbourne we were invited for a meal out at a restaurant and on the menu they were serving full Christmas dinner with turkey and all the vegetables and then Christmas pudding afterwards! We were highly amused. Robert had the Christmas pudding! The reason they do this, we heard, is because in December it is very hot. At Christmas time people don’t really want big, heavy meals, nor do they want to be slaving over a hot cooker all day in the heat of the summer. So some places enjoy the Christmas meal in the cooler time of the year i.e. July and August. It seemed very strange to us.

However, when you think about it, Jesus didn’t come just for Christmas. Jesus came for all time. He came at one point in time, but the effect of his coming lasted for all time. We live in a world which is so badly in need of the good news of Jesus: the message of peace, love, hope, joy and forgiveness that Jesus brings is one we need to hear about all year round, not just in December when the weather is cold and it gets dark early. Jesus came to bring light and life to a dark and sinful world. The world is still dark and full of sin. We see so many places where we long for peace, love, hope and joy to reign. We sometimes see the glimmer of new life and hope breaking through.

How are we going to receive the good news of Jesus this year? When Jesus was born, he wasn’t made very welcome amongst the busy inns in Bethlehem. He had to be born in a poor stable amongst the cattle and sheep. He was born as a vulnerable child amongst poor people, and yet he was the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings. Let us pray that we may recognise Christ in our midst, not just at Christmas-time, but all through the year, and rejoice in his coming among us and welcome him into our lives.

Here is a prayer to reflect on as we approach the Christmas season:

God of Christmas

We unwrap our presents –

help us to remember those who have nothing.

As we eat our festive food –

help us to remember those who are hungry.

We have fun with our friends and family –

help us to remember those who are lonely.

We think about the birth of Jesus in a stable –

help us to remember all animals, and to be kind to them.

We reflect that Mary gave birth a long way from home –

help us to remember those in refugee camps today.

As we enjoy being around those we love, in our happiness –

help us to remember all who are sad today, and entrust them to you.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

With every blessing for a very happy Christmas.

Rebecca Harris

© Roots for Churches Ltd


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