“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”
Three of the four advent candles are lit, children are rapidly running out of doors on the advent calendar, we’ve had our community carol service and we’ve already had two Christmas parties in Positive Steps with at least three more to go. If you’re anything like me you can also add to the list: a pile of Christmas cards that have not quite made it to the post box, presents still to be wrapped, a feast to prepare and a complex matrix of visits to organise. The build up to Christmas can be a magical time that is filled with wonder, hope, love, joy and peace but it can also be a time that is filled with stress, worry, grief and loneliness. Often Christmas films fill our imaginations with a perfect ideal of what Christmas “should” be. We are offered images of the perfect gift, the perfect decorations, the perfect romance, the perfect family - Hollywood raises our expectations but reality is often somewhat different.
Probably the best Christmas film ever is “It’s a Wonderful Life”. It shows a life fraught with challenges and yet, just when George Bailey thinks that the world might be better off without him, he sees that actually his life means quite a lot. He discovers that it is in the small everyday decisions that he made in his life that other people’s lives were made better. In amongst all of the strain and stress he realises that he matters. I thought long and hard about what I wanted my Christmas message to you all to be and it is simply this - you matter. God loved the world so much that he sent his son into the world to be God with us.
Whether your Christmas is a thing to rival a Hollywood film or if you’re having the Nightmare before Christmas remember that you are loved beyond measure. And if your Christmas is a bit of a simple affair, it’s okay, don’t forget that the first Christmas was too.
This weekend we will be holding a Christingle service in place of our normal 10:45am service. Do come along and listen again to the message of God’s deep and enduring love for the whole world. Then on Christmas Day, why not join us to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
P.S. if you are struggling this Christmas and the season is a bit much for you, please don’t suffer in silence come and speak to myself or Simon or Mo - you really do matter.