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By Mary Bucknall
What ideas does the word Christmas conjure up?
Do you ever spare a thought for the person that is at the centre of it all?
Jesus Christ Jesus Christ Jesus Christ Jesus Christ Jesus
Jesus’ entry into the world as a tiny baby was just like any other – yet with an important difference. He was the Son of God, as Christians believe him to be.
What was the real purpose of Jesus’ coming?
Israel in Roman times was a dark, desperate place, its people groaning under the heel of a brutal client-king of the Romans, and waiting with longing for their redemption. Many Jews believed their release would be achieved through a promised Messiah, foretold in the written Scriptures from of old.
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)
But when Jesus came as a tiny baby, not as a great warrior, many must have been taken aback and asked if this was the Messiah or not. Even now people are often unsure of Jesus’ claims, but Christians believe He is the Messiah, the Christ – albeit in a different way to what people expect.
Jesus came to release his people – firstly the Jews and then the Gentiles and others all down the ages – from the kingdom of darkness and desperation and fear, and transfer them into God’s kingdom of light and life, through his dying on the Cross and his glorious rising again.
That’s why Christians the world over celebrate Christmas, or “Christ-Mass” with a special service with carols, or a vigil or mass with candles, symbolising light shining in the darkness, goodness overcoming evil, hope replacing fear.
Even in secular society almost everyone takes the day off as a public holiday to celebrate Christmas. Even the big supermarkets shut and the trains stop running.
Traditionally there is tremendous feasting and merriment on this one special day to chase away the gloom in the depths of winter.
Let’s keep Christmas Day special each year and as we enjoy the cosy warmth with our families and friends, if we are fortunate enough to have them, let us ponder on the birth of Jesus for a reason – He came to save us from our sin and give us hope and a future with God – if only we believe on Him.
In closing I would like to quote a verse from an old Christmas carol, The People that in Darkness Sat, by John Morison (1749-1798):
To us a Child of hope is born,
To us a Son is given,
And on His shoulder ever rests
All power in earth and heaven.
View previous Reflection articles
Thoughts on Christmas
The Vastness of Creation
Home is where the Heart is
Beyond Fear to Exhiliarating Trust
Sticks and Stones
Beauty in the Chaos
God and Creation
The Lord is near
Having fun and taking new steps with our friends
A friend who stands where we stand, and weeps with us
Remain in Me
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