Christmas is a time of year when we get in touch with people that we’ve not seen for a while. Along with best wishes for Christmas and the New Year, our cards from friends and family can sometimes include a few lines of news about significant events that have happened over the past 12 months. A Christmas card shows us that people care and that they continue to hold us in their thoughts.
It was a nice surprise this week to hear news from Simon as he got back in touch with us from across the pond. He is now half way through his time away and his ’mid sabbatical musings’ spoke warmly of the welcome that he has received from the many and varied Christian communities across the States, including churches in Seattle, Nashville, Houston and of course our brothers and sisters at Christchurch New Brunswick.
Tidings of a different sort were the focus of our service this Sunday morning when we heard about a group of shepherds who were met by a host of angels bursting with the joyful news that Christ the Lord had been born in Bethlehem. But this encounter was much more than a heavenly greeting card. God hadn’t just sent a message of best wishes for the future from his home in heaven. The news the angels wanted to share was that God had crossed the great divide and come in person to live amongst us. If a Christmas card shows us that someone cares, how much more is love revealed to us at Christmas by God visiting us in the form of Jesus and taking upon himself the things that separate us from him. As the sketch from our junior Sunday School showed us at Sunday night’s Community Carol Service, the final letter ‘S’ in the word Christmas stands for Jesus as ‘Saviour’ which is the real meaning behind the Christmas story.
As there were no poems in the Carol Service this year, I’d like to share this one with you which I came across the other day. Not only does it paint a vivid picture of a crowded stable, not unlike the one we had at the front of church on Sunday night, but it also gives us a hint of Jesus’s Easter destiny yet to come.
Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas!
What the donkey saw by UA Fanthorpe
No room at the inn, of course
And not that much in the stable,
What with the shepherds, Magi, Mary,
Joseph, the heavenly host –
Not to mention the baby
Using our manger as a cot.
You couldn’t have squeezed another cherub in
For love nor money.
Still, in spite of the overcrowding,
I did my best to make them feel wanted.
I could see the baby and I
Would be going places together.