3 Dec 2019 • From the Minister
Often during Advent, people say to me, ‘You must be very busy at this time of year’ and to a certain extent that’s true. Just like everyone else there are presents to buy, cards to write and food to prepare. Of course, what they mean is that I will have lots of extra services and events as Christmas approaches.
I think when people say I must be busy, they think that will be a problem, but actually I love Advent – yes there are lots of additional things to prepare for alongside all the personal preparations, but I love all the opportunities that Advent brings. Groups and people that are not interested in God or the Church during the rest of the year want to sing Christmas carols and hear the Christmas story. And I’m very happy to share the good news with them.
The challenge is to present a sometimes (though not always) familiar story in a way that is fresh and relevant to people in this time and place.
I want people to experience the fun of Christmas, but I also want them to experience ‘the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Joseph and Mary and the peace of the Christ-child’. And so, each year I plan how I might share this story with those who invite me.
I want to tell people that the story of Jesus is more than a cute baby that looks good on the front of a Christmas card. The reality of Jesus’ story is very different. Despite his birth being heralded by angels, despite being visited by shepherds and wise men, he was born into poverty in a room that he probably shared with animals. Just days after his birth his family had to flee persecution, becoming refugees far from home and family and friends.
I want to tell other stories about Jesus – God who became flesh and chose to live on earth; the story of Jesus who cares for those on the margins of society, for the sick and the poor; the story of Jesus who performs miracles; the story of Jesus whose teachings have shaped the western world.
I want to share the story of Jesus who was betrayed by his friends, who knew the injustice of an unfair trail, who was put to death and who knows what it is to suffer pain but who came through death and pain to bring life and hope to all those who believe in him.
But most of all I want to share the message of peace and joy that Jesus brings to lives today. I want to share how my story has been shaped by Jesus’ story.
I want to tell of my experience of Jesus being alongside me not just when life is going well, but when life is tough and when there are unanswered questions.
What stories will you tell about Jesus this Advent and Christmas?
Can you tell people how your story is another chapter in the story of Jesus?
May the joy of the angels,
the eagerness of the shepherds,
the perseverance of the wise men,
the obedience of Joseph and Mary
and the peace of the Christ-child be yours this Christmas;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.