Is Christmas all sweetness and light?

First published December 2017

The Reverend Ray Gibbs wishes us a happy Christmas but also reminds us to reflect on the true events and meaning of this season.

Well, here it is, the last newsletter of the year, and a merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all.  Sometimes, after a stressful meeting or day, I unwind by channel flicking on the television. I surf the channels watching bits and pieces, but rarely a programme.  Recently, we have had Christmas channels added to the mix, and these usually tell a Christmas seasonal related story, which starts off badly for everyone, but then ends all sweetness and light, which has got me thinking: was the first Christmas, and is my Christmas (and yours), all sweetness and light?

In the first chapter of Luke’s gospel, we find an old women and a young teenager both discovering that they are pregnant.  One who is “too old”, gives birth to a boy, who we learn later in life will be called John the Baptist, and the young woman who isn’t really “old enough” yet, gives birth to a boy that was called Jesus, who later in life will be given many titles from: ‘the king of the Jews’, to ‘Messiah’ to ‘the Son of God’, amongst others.  The lives of both women where changed beyond our imagination; Elizabeth and Mary were never the same again.

But this is no Mills & Boon or Disney type situation where everything comes good in the last 5 minutes; the story of the birth of John and Jesus raises far more questions than answers.  There is no sitting around a decorated Christmas tree with contented faces after the ultra-big Christmas meal.  This is the prelude.  It’s the start.  Heaven breaks in to our world, and there is misunderstanding and disagreement, and there is confusion and protest: and there is the death of innocents ... and the world is turned upside down.

We normally talk about the true meaning of Christmas as if ‘it’s all about the family’, or ‘it’s all for the children’.  Actually, it is all about life being turned upside down, but that may not be happy or merry, so should I wish you a happy and merry or do I dare wish you a true Christmas, or perhaps settle for a slice of both?  May you find the reason for the season, and have a happy and holy time.  God Bless you all.   


Reflections Library
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