As much as in the introduction to yesterday’s blog I talked about how I loved the historical, traditional and sacred aspects of Christmas, I then ignored all of those in my favourite traditions from yesterday. But there was method in my madness, as there so often isn’t… I knew today was about the meaning of Christmas, which was the perfect place to write about the true heart of Christmas.
To me Christmas means the beginning of the story, my story of faith. Chrstmeas means God incarnate. Christmas means God leaving his heavenly throne and coming to live with his creation, to make a way for our relationship once and for all. Christmas means God knows what it is to be vulnerable, to be cold, to be hungry, to be in pain, to be poor, to be scared, to be human. Christmas means God with us.
Now that’s your reason to ding dong merrily on high and falalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala.
From this morning, and over the next two and a bit weeks, there are around 20 services that I will be leading, speaking at, saying intercessions for or helping to run, and you may think that that incredible truth will wear somewhat thin after “doing” it 20 times. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. Each time I attend a new service, organise another reflection, look at some more liturgy, write another talk I am struck by the enormity and beauty of what Christmas means. Every time.
Wit this in mind, I’d like to share some new thoughts which I will share with some of the younger children at their carol service in a couple of weeks. At Christmas there are crackers, and generally you have to spend a lot of money for them to be any good. Crackers can be a bit of a let down, they sometimes don’t even bang and if you’re like me you find those flimsy little paper crowns rather lame and offensive. But I never realised that even a rubbishy cheap cracker is an important message for us of what Christmas truly means.
In a cracker there is a joke, Jesus came to bring us joy. We don’t need to mourn any longer, God is with us. Through Jesus we can approach God joyfully assured of our relationship with him.
In a cracker there is a toy, Jesus was the ultimate gift to us. The immortal words of John 3:16 tells us that God loved us so much he gave to us his son. The gift of his presence with us, the gift of his love, the gift of everlasting life with him.
In a cracker there is a crown, Jesus came to be the king. From a humble and very unkinglike birth, Jesus came to reign as the King of kings. Above all earthly powers, Jesus came to be the servant king.
That’s what Christmas means to me.