I wonder what you enjoy most about Christmas? Perhaps time with family, or the Christmas lunch. Maybe the traditional carols... or just the presents!
And I wonder what you find most difficult? Perhaps the time with or without the family, or preparing the Christmas lunch. Maybe you can’t stand the traditional carols, or despair of finding presents for everybody.
We’re all different; what is it that ‘makes’ Christmas for you? I read recently that the favourite Christmas traditions for adults are decorating the tree, seeing Christmas lights and opening the stocking presents. The article went on to suggest that, for many, our family traditions “are what makes Christmas truly special.”
But we know that can’t be all. For the birth of a baby in an out-of-the-way town to be celebrated around the world for two thousand years needs more than tinsel on trees and surprises in stockings. We, along with billions of others, celebrate because the birth of this child is the best news imaginable:
"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11 NIV)
So said the angel to the shepherds. God himself born into our world to be our Saviour, to bring us the forgiveness and peace with God that we so desperately need. Whatever our circumstances, whatever our family traditions, this is the source of "great joy" this Christmas. And it’s good news of great joy for all the people - so let’s use this special time of year to share this wonderful, joyful news with those who haven’t yet heard it or haven’t yet recognised it for what it is.
Revd Dr Peter Herbert