Osbaldwick and Murton Parish Link
December 2018 - Who Will Make Him Welcome?
Soon it will be Christmas - but not quite yet, despite the TV adverts showing people enjoying their Christmas dinner - with or without sprouts! There will be a vast spending spree, as most us want to buy and send cards, buy presents and all the food and other things we need for our domestic arrangements. Much of this, of course, is very good and well-intentioned. But if we are to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas we need to get to the heart of it. It is the simple, yet profound truth that God sent his own Son to be born the first Christmas as our Saviour, to bring the whole world back to himself. The Christian faith proclaims that the Baby in the manger is none other than God himself in our human form, 'Born as one of us, Mary's Son'. As the Bible puts it: 'The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.'
How can we know this to be real? I suggest three ways:
Prepare for Jesus - We have so many physical preparations to make this month. Let's try, amidst all our business, to make space in our hearts each day to think for a few moments about what Christmas means. We can do this on our own or together. The four Sundays in December before Christmas make up what is called Advent (Coming) and on each Sunday the Church thinks about people in the Bible who prepared for Jesus, including, most of all, the Virgin Mary, his mother.
Welcome Jesus - If you can go to a church service sometime over Christmas, that is a deliberate way to celebrate Jesus's birth and take him into your heart. But also, Jesus comes to us in other people and when we care for them we are caring for him. This can give us a special respect and love for everyone - not just family and friends but everybody, because Jesus came out of love for us all.
Learn from Jesus - There is, of course, no limit to what we can learn from Jesus. But there is one particular quality which shines most clearly at Christmas - Jesus's divine humility. When Jesus came from heaven that first Christmas he had to put aside all his heavenly glory so as to become one with us. St. Paul wrote that Jesus had to 'empty' himself to come to earth. And why did he do this? He became like us so that through his saving love we might become like him, full of the love of God.
Prepare for Jesus.....Welcome Jesus.....Learn from Jesus. If we make time to do these things, the 'Festive Season' will be more than just outward jollity, but will be a real 'Christ Feast', which is what 'Christmas' really means.
I wish you all a Joyful, Peaceful and Happy Christmas.