ANOTHER Christmas has come and gone already. In its place is the prospect of a cold January with a backlog
ANOTHER Christmas has come and gone already. In its place is the prospect of a cold January with a backlog of bills to be met as the excesses of Yuletide expenditure come home to roost.
In today’s world it is not easy to keep alive the true meaning of this great celebration when it is so readily submerged under a weight of tinsel, glitter and frenetic effort.
But it has its roots in the Northern hemisphere as far back as the sun worship of the Egyptians, when the winter solstice (December 21) marked the day when the sun stopped falling out of the sky.
By December 25 it was clear it had started to rise again and this critically important fact was marked by great rejoicing.
With the coming of Jesus, Christians took this symbolically important date to mark his birth and indeed his arrival in this world has proved to be of unequalled impact.
Still today, 2,000 years after his birth, he has more than 2,000 millions followers, not much less than one in every three people on the planet.
The Christian community in its totality is substantially the largest the world has ever seen. Yet Jesus wrote nothing, no written guidance or instruction. He relied on a dozen unlettered men to bring his church into being. Any business school will tell you that is no way to start an organisation!
What is the secret of its appeal and durability? Just the teaching of this same Jesus who was able to assure us that this world is not the end, that beyond this there is a life that is indestructible. That while the past, with all our damaging actions, thoughts and words, cannot be changed, they can be forgiven. That the God who made us also loves us. That the secret of this life is to return that love and in such measure that it overflows into the love of our neighbour. That we matter to Him.
The gospel of John records “the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us” and if December 25 is the day we specially remember this, we should not forget he is still with us, even through the chilly days of January.