Christmas, for many people, is known as the silly season. The season that should really be the family highlight of the year so often isn’t. Nostalgia, mixed with eleven months of guilt, can prompt illogical and extravagant purchases as can family, peer and media pressure. We can become so caught up with the peripheral trappings of Christmas that we become hardened to the reality of it all. I’ve often struggled with the commercialism of the festivities over the years – Scrooge wouldn’t have had a look-in on me!
But I want to encourage you to put into perspective all that the festive season is about. I want to encourage you to make a special effort to see beyond all the shopping, presents, carols, trees, food, cards, streamers, parties and time off work, and focus on the reality of the Christmas story. A story about a loving Heavenly Father who sent His only Son into the world so that we might have life. Because it is only when we look to the real meaning of the celebration that it begins to make any sense at all.
As you begin to think about Christmas, why not make a mental note to do something practical about celebrating the true meaning of Christmas? Make a point of pencilling in a time to attend a Church Service – there are plenty to choose from in Billericay. Of course, you’ll have to make an effort because, if you don’t, you’ll get swamped by all the festive distractions and another opportunity to really celebrate Christmas will have passed you by for another year.
But it’s never too early to give presents for Christmas – you don’t have to wait until Christmas Day! For the spirit of Christmas to take hold we must enter into the true spirit of it – only then will we see, and feel, the true significance of our celebrations.
Here’s a challenge for you! How about giving a daily gift to someone from now till then? These are a few ideas – you can add to them or adapt them as you wish:
Mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Write a long overdue letter.
Tell someone that you love them!
Forgive an enemy.
Be gentle and patient with an angry person.
Put a smile on the face of a child.
Put a smile on the face of an adult!
Find time to keep a promise.
Release a grudge.
Speak kindly to a stranger.
Enter another person’s sorrow.
Laugh a little.
Laugh a little more.
Look for a redeeming attribute in someone you think has none.
Reduce your demands on others.
Apologise if you were wrong.
Pray for someone who helped you when you were hurt.
Give a soft answer even though you feel strongly.
Encourage an older person.
Point out one thing you most appreciate about someone you work with or live near.
Let’s make an extra special effort this year so that Christmas becomes one long, extended gift of ourselves. Unconditionally. Unselfishly. Without announcement. Or Obligation. Or Reservation. Or Hypocrisy. After all, that is what Christianity is all about isn’t it? I’m sure you will find that the true spirit of Christmas is to be found in being loving, caring for neighbours, building bridges with enemies, and focusing on the act of giving ourselves to others, just as Christmas is a celebration, and remembrance, of when the Lord Jesus Christ gave himself for us.
And finally, how about using these well-known words of a carol as a personal prayer?
What can I give him poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
Yet what can I give him – give him my heart.
May I wish you a wonderful Christmas and pray God’s richest blessing on you, and your family and friends, this Christmas season and for all that a New Year will bring.
May God grant you the light of Christmas, which is faith.
The warmth of Christmas, which is love.
The radiance of Christmas, which is purity.
The righteousness of Christmas, which is justice.
The belief in Christmas, which is truth.
The all of Christmas, which is Christ.
Please note this article was written in 2019 and the links below refer to Christmas 2019.
Watch a video invitation here
Download our Christmas Leaflet 2019
Download our Christmas Poster 2019 (A4)
Book your place at one of our Christingle Services
This is a copy of my article for the December 2019 edition of the Billericay ‘Around Town Magazine’