Christmas Challenge

Nativity sceneChristmas is a stand out time in the year. Whether you believe that Jesus came as God incarnate, or believe nothing at all, Christmas is hard to miss – it’s everywhere. Christmas as Jesus’ birthday celebration may not be a stand out fact in many people’s minds. But to Christians it should be the central theme of all our celebrations. There is an attempt to make two kinds of Christmas. One which includes Jesus and one which does not. The fact that Jesus arrived in relative obscurity challenges us to make His arrival a stand out factor in the middle of all the hullabaloo made elsewhere. It is easy to listen to all the messages that surround us telling us what “Christmas is all about” and forget that it isn’t about food, or gifts or families trying to gloss over problems instead of resolving them. The performance anxiety some people suffer for the sake of avoiding criticism over what they should do or buy or organise for Christmas leaves them exhausted and often quite cynical. This makes Christmas stand out for all the wrong reasons.

The promise of “God and sinners reconciled” is an amazing life-changing truth – a promise Jesus came to fulfil, and one which we are constantly encouraged by an unbelieving world to keep quiet about. It is a testimony to God’s power that repeated attempts to take the Christ out of Christmas have never really succeeded. In the spiritual battle to hide Jesus, the alternative to renaming Christmas (as” winterfest” or just “the holidays”, and many other attempts) is to recruit Christians into the whole mayhem of Christmas events and delivery. This is an attempt to make Christians just too busy, too distracted or too wrung out to stand out for Jesus.

The purpose for God was to reconcile the world to himself through Jesus. The purpose of the world is to reconcile the Christians back into the darkness to avoid the light shining. This is two kinds of Christmas, one of promise and one of compromise. To allow ourselves to become reconciled to the empty crazy mishmash of consumerism and sentimentality is to allow ourselves to be reconciled to the world. But our ministry of reconciliation is to stand out for Jesus. We are children of promise not victims of compromise. “God with us” is our celebration; there is no Christmas without Jesus. Let’s take Christmas back. It belongs to the kingdom of God as the celebration of new hope and new life. All that a Christmas without Jesus offers is more of the same. We stand out because we are different (salt and light) and our Christmases should stand out because they too are different. We are children of the promise not people of compromise. We are here to stand out, and Christmas is one of our best opportunities to shine for Jesus and to season the season with the flavour of the Holy Spirit who leads into all truth.Graeme

Have an outstanding Christmas

God bless you

Graeme Clark

Senior Church Leader