A few days ago I was listening to a song, written a number of years ago, by the Christian singer and songwriter, Garth Hewitt. The song was called “Don’t blame God for Christmas”. It is written as a reflection on the message displayed on the T-Shirt of a young girl in a shopping mall which said, “Dear Santa, I want it all”.
For many Christmas can seem like little more than an excuse for a festival of consumerism. Many retailers rely on the lead up to Christmas increasing their sales sufficiently to survive into the next year. A good Christmas is proclaimed when sales and takings are up on the previous year and a poor one when the same takings and sales are down. Christmas can become about wanting it all, in material terms.
In the song Garth Hewitt sings, “Don’t blame God for Christmas he only sent his Son”. It is a reminder that at the heart of the Christmas message is God sending Jesus to us. For Christians Christmas should above all a time to reflect on that gift of Jesus, God coming to be with us, in the midst of our situation, sharing our human life in all its joys and sorrows.
For me Christmas took on a whole new meaning when our son, Jonathan was born. When I say that I don’t mean that what happened on Christmas Day was somehow different because we had a young child around, though it undoubtedly was. Rather, that on the day that he was actually born, reflecting on the wonder of new life that I had witnessed coming into the world, I understood at a much deeper level than I had previously what it meant for God to come to us in the form of a young baby, with all the risks that are inherent in that. To realise that God loves us that much that he sent Jesus to show that love and to invite from us a response of love.
So Christmas is not about how much we spend or how much receive but about accepting that gift of love that is God sending his Son, Jesus. Whatever else is going on for you over the Christmas period do take some time to ponder what it means for you that God sent his Son, Jesus, to be with us.
Happy Christmas and God bless Phil (Reverend Phil Taylor)