If November is the month of remembrance December is the month of anticipation. For some it may be eager anticipation – for children the expectations of school days filled with little work as rehearsals are under way for Christmas plays, of school holidays and of much desired gifts at Christmas. As Christians we eagerly look forward to celebrating the birth of God’s only son, Jesus.
Advent (the countdown to Christmas) is a time for us to consider what it meant for God to be here, on earth, in human form. As the words of that well-known carol, Once in Royal David’s City say ‘He came down to earth from heaven, Who is God and Lord of all, and His shelter was a stable, and His cradle was a stall: with the poor and mean and lowly lived on earth our savior holy.’ Why did God do that? Why send His Son to live and grow as one of us? What does that mean for us today?
But sometimes this sense of awe can be lost in amongst the secular busy-ness of the season. How often can we lose sight of that helpless babe as we are elbowing our way through the crowds to get that special gift for our loved ones? How often do we forget the mystery of Gods rescue plan for the world as we rush around making sure all the trimmings are just right? How easy is it for us to spend time moaning and groaning about crowds and commercialism that we lose sight of Jesus?
This is also the time of year when more people are likely to visit our churches. A time when the spirit of Christianity flows through those who normally give God no thought. The welcome they receive should reflect the warmth and welcome of that small, humble stable in Bethlehem that turned no-one away who wanted to see the new born king. Christmas is a chance for Christians to show their faith and relationship with God at its best, where worship and welcome should meet and reflect a choice that others want to know more about. Whether you are attending a Christingle service, Carol service or Midnight communion it should be an opportunity for you to ask what is Christmas really about and to see the answer reflected in the faces of those around you as they worship God and celebrate the birth of His son.
My prayer for you all is that this year you will find time to look forward to the celebration of Jesus’ birth with the same eagerness and anticipation that you had as a child waiting to see what Santa would bring. And that with that same, infectious, child-like quality remember how to share this with others too.
Children’s and Families’ Worker