Thought for the month

The Christmas season is now upon us. TV, radio and media adverts have been about nothing else for weeks. We will have our invites to parties, lunches, carol services, friends and family to juggle and prepare for. It all seems so very busy (and often expensive).

So let’s spare a thought for those who did not get the invites – perhaps they live on their own. No family anywhere near. Those in care or residential homes. Those in hospital, prison or just on the streets. Or for those who are struggling financially for whom the pressures to conform to the ‘norm’ could perhaps push them over the edge. Those who are in a foreign land with customs and expectations different from those happening around them. These folks can be in a very confusing and disturbing place – and they are often all around us but we don’t see them.

Our partying can easily separate us our neighbours – and not just at Christmas. So perhaps we should spend a few minutes thinking back to why we have a celebration called Christmas. We need to remember a couple, not yet married, travelling to a strange place on the orders of a repressive government. The young woman was carrying a child, with the child due to be born any day. No midwives around. No ambulances to be called on. In fact – no-one to call on – when the child was born in a dirty stable, the only place found to get shelter for that night. Almost alone – in a strange place. That child was subsequently understood to be a very special child indeed, the son of God. That child was under threat from the moment of birth and the family had to become refugees themselves in order to survive. That is the event we are remembering at Christmas.

So why do we celebrate such an event? Because that child, Jesus, was to reveal to humanity the depth of God’s love for them. Whether rich or poor, sick or well, alone or with many friends and family, God shows that He cares for them. He enables us to be reconciled with the God who created all things, including us. That’s the event we celebrate.

Jesus showed us how to care for others. If we really want to enjoy our Christmas, then we should take a look around us for those who may be less fortunate and find some way to share with them as well. God shared his very Son – surely we can share something of our selves.

Happy Christmas!

Chris Prior