This is a copy of my article (albeit, in a slightly different style) for the DECEMBER 2016 edition of the Billericay ‘Around Town Magazine’

Giving presents, singing carols, eating and drinking as much as we can!
It’s one of the few times of year we give thought to our fellow man.
A time of ‘glad tidings’ and ‘peace on earth’ is the Angel’s call,
This Christmas celebration isn’t so bad after all!

Hang the streamers, drape the tinsel, light the candles, dress the tree,
Santa Claus is coming soon – it’s all so plain to see!
Oh! and we mustn’t forget to hang the mistletoe from the ceiling –
These are all things that help to create that special feeling.

Put the advent calendar up-to-date,
Santa Claus is coming soon – not long to wait.
And we say Saint Nicholas is heaven sent,
Till we realise the debt we’re in and count the money we’ve spent.

And does it really make us feel any better,
to send a Christmas card or a letter?
Does the excitement stay more than a day or two?  Well some say it doesn’t last –
Sometimes this Christmas cheer seems a thing of the past!

And through it all there seems no danger,
Of us even thinking back to that child in a manger.
We’ve heard the story, countless many times before – but let’s take a moment to remember
The real reason why we celebrate the 25th December:

Born the Saviour of the world, the gift of love from God.
But when you consider the dirty stable don’t you find it rather odd,
That the King of Kings and Lord of Lords should be born as poor as this?
But the real story behind the birth of Jesus is not that difficult to miss.

He taught about another kingdom and how life would never be the same,
But he died a criminals death on Calvary’s tree – because they said he was to blame.
He rose again to conquer death to have victory over the grave,
To prove to us, why He was born – the world to save.

So, how do you respond this Christmas time, to the gift of God’s only Son!
Will you wrap him up in the festivities and ignore the work’s He’s done?
Let’s put Christ back into Christmas, it’s not that hard to do.
And if you do, then Christmas, won’t be quite the same for you!

May I invite you, and your family, to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas this year at Emmanuel?   As you do, I pray that the Joy of the Angels, the Eagerness of the Shepherds, the Perseverance of the Wise Men, the Obedience of Joseph and Mary, the Peace of Jesus and God’s richest blessing will fill your hearts and lives this Christmas season and in the year to come.