Grace Communion Church – Christmas – A Child is Born

grace comm xmas13 iss35FOR WEBWhat has that got to do with us? Indeed what is Christmas to us? Is it a wonderful family time, a commercial festival or does it have any religious meaning for us today?

For all the retailers in our world it has become a commercial festival of indulgence, with all the shops decorated with Christmas displays that both catch the eye and extol the virtues of this or that product. Christmas carols blast out from their sound systems carrying a message of peace and goodwill, but the main message is the more you spend and the more you receive the happier you will be.

For some families it is a wonderful time of year when they can get together and enjoy each other’s company, renewing and rebuilding bridges of friendship which will last for a lifetime.

For other families it’s a nightmare of being cooped up with people they hardly ever see and find difficult company. It can pile pressure on husbands and wives whose relationship is under strain. Divorce lawyers know they will get a post Christmas spike in the number of couples enquiring about divorce.

For many older people it can be a lonely time. Either because they have lost loved ones or their families are far away they find themselves alone at a time when society, and endless advertising, suggests everyone is spending time with friends and family.

So Christmas can be a good time, the highlight of the year, or a bad time when you feel alone and isolated depending on your circumstances.

So what about the religious significance of the Christmas festival?

Does that have a meaning for us all, old and young, happy or sad, with or without a family to share it with?

We know that Christmas has something to do with the birth of a child, called Jesus. If we have read the bible story we know He was born in humble circumstances, in a stable and laid in a manger. We may know that certain events are linked with his birth, shepherds seeing angels, a special star in the sky leading three wise men, bearing valuable gifts, to his home shortly after his birth.

But where do we come in, what does it all mean for us?

As human beings we all sin. Some of us in little ways like telling lies or treating someone unfairly, doing things that hurt others in some way.

Some of us in bigger ways, like murdering someone, or in the case of dictators like Stalin, Hitler, Mao or Pol Pot murdering literally thousands of people.

Sins, large and small, separate us from God. The bible also tells us that the penalty for sin is death.

So God, in love, a love far greater than we can understand, came to earth in the form of this little child, Jesus. As both fully God and fully human Jesus led a perfect sinless life. Then at around the age of 33, He was killed, by being crucified, to pay the death penalty for all humanity. It’s hard to grasp but his life as God was worth more than those of all the human beings who have ever lived, are alive now, or will live in the future.

John 3.16 – 17 tells us “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”

However bad a sinner you think you are your penalty has been paid in love by that child whose birth, around 2000 years ago, means we are not just free of sin (even though we have to live with it’s consequences for now), but also that we need have no fear of death because eternal life has been opened to us.

So the true celebration at this time of year is to recognize the incredible LOVE that underpins the sacrifice and death of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Whether you celebrate with a loving family, or endure a stress filled time in a less loving family; whether you are with friends or on your own; whether you are sickened by the commercialism of Christmas or enjoy every minute of it … only one thing matters … that you know that God loves you, personally and individually, so much that He gave his life for you. The Christmas message is you are loved – whether you believe it or not.

A merry Christmas to all our readers. Why not begin it by joining the carol service at Grace Communion or Swarcliffe Baptist churches, details below.

grace comm carol service        baptist church caroll service

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