Christmas 2010

Christmas 2010 seems like a strange thing to write. I can remember Christmas 1960. Truth is, I can remember a few Christmases before that.
Seems that at Christmas time, memories flood back. It’s probably because the western world celebrates this special birthday, Christmas, all together. Unlike our human birthdays, which are scattered all across the calendar, many millions of people remember the birth of Jesus, all on one day. December 25, though perhaps arbitrary in its choosing, is the day the Christian world slows to a near stop and pauses to reflect about the baby in a manger. Emmanuel, God with us, in human form, our baby Jesus.
Today, Christmas is celebrated in a way that Mary and Joseph could never have imagined. In fact, if Mary and Joseph ever thought about what the next 20 centuries would be like, it’s certain they would not have seen the world as we see and experience it now. The world has changed a lot.
In many ways, it can be argued that it hasn’t changed for the better. We have a much better standard of living. Our every day conveniences are hard to imagine not being available to us. There’s certain changes that haven’t come about. Mankind is still cruel to fellow man. Governments rise and fall, some by the ballot box and some by the sword. There’s still war and droughts and floods and famine. 
But the true Christian message is constant. God created the world and he sent his son to be our saviour. It doesn’t matter in which of the last 20 centuries a person lived, the message is the same. The message is so simple that it confounds the wise. Jesus was born, lived and died for our sins. If we accept his sacrifice, we go to Heaven. If we choose not to accept his sacrifice, we go to Hell.
People can be angry at that statement. They can be angry at me for making the statement. They can be angry at any and everything they choose, but it doesn’t change it. People who wish to argue the point need to argue with God. Don’t worry, He can handle anger. Get really angry if you like. If it will make you feel better, curse, swear, rant, rave, pound the ground. God has seen it all. He won’t laugh at you, he will just patiently wait until you are done and then be ready to pick you up and hold you close.
Picture God today, wanting to hold you close, like a good father. For those who have had a good dad it’s an easy picture to bring to mind. For those who didn’t have a great dad or perhaps never knew their dad, it’s a tougher picture to accept. Regardless, good dad, bad dad, no dad, God wants to hold us close and to show us his love.
This Christmas, let’s not have anything stand between us and Jesus. Not our own failings, not our own successes, not the great failings of other people, even leaders in the Christian church past and present. Let nothing come between us and Jesus. We need to honour the baby in the manger, the ministering Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus on the cross, the whole package. 
This Christmas we are reminded that each day is a gift from God, the giver of life. Remember, yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never come, today is a gift, that is why we call it the present. 

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