Thursday, 28 November 2013

It is that time again

As I sit here enjoying the final days of a much needed holiday I can't help but think about the weeks that lie before me.  Those that know me well would be well aware that the Christmas period is a difficult time for me.  I have to be honest that this time of year creates much anxiety and it is not a time that enjoy very much.  Some may question these thoughts saying you're a minster of the church, how can you dislike Christmas?   This would be a fair question I guess.  The fact is I do dislike this time of year but only because it seems that more and more the world is losing the real meaning of Christmas.

It frustrates me year in and year out that the season of Christmas gets earlier and earlier.  I couldn't believe it this year when I began to see Christmas merchandise appearing on the shelves of the local supermarket in August.  You see it is the consumerism and the materialism that drives me nuts to be honest.  Christmas has become a huge cash cow that many seem to buy into.  I remember a few years ago I did an experiment in my local shopping center.  Armed with a video camera and several questions I wanted to see how the people in my local community interpreted the Christmas season.  I must have interviewed at least ten or so people and each time I received the same sort of answers.  Some said Christmas was about the gifts; others told me that it was about spending time with our families, good food, chocolate, children and Santa (an anagram of satan by the way).  Out of all the people I spoke to not one person told me that Christmas was about Jesus.  

I recollect another story I heard several years ago about a christian friend who was shopping at a local shopping center.  As they went up the escalator to the next level they looked down and noticed a local church sharing the good news of Jesus and singing Christmas carols.  As they continued up the escalator they overheard a conversation of two others behind them.  One of the shoppers turned to their friend with this comment.  "Typical it's Christmas and the church has to bring Jesus into it..."

I don't know about you but those sort of statements concern me.  Christmas is about family and yes it is about good food and gifts, but the reality is that the true meaning of Christmas is about Jesus.  It is about the hope that is available to all people through the most precious gift; the gift of Jesus.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.  That whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but will receive eternal life."( John 3:16)  What an amazing message.  Jesus really is the reason for the season and although the world is trying to remove Him from this time of celebration we each as Christians have a responsibility to share the good news of what Christmas is really about.

Our world desperately needs to hear about Christmas and it needs to hear about the real reason for our hope and love and family and yes even the gifts. As much as I hate the consumerism at this time of year I also love this time of year because I am reminded of what it truly represents.  This worldly view of what the season is only fuels my desire to share the gospel with a lost world. 
I challenge you this year not to get caught up in the hype and the false Christmas gospel but rather share the good news with those around you about the true and real meaning of this festive season.  You can't take Christ out of Christmas else you are simply left with a 'mas.'

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. - Jesus

John 3:16-18

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