All the Best for Christmas
from Canon Roy Lawrence
Christmas seems to come round more and more quickly year by year. It comes complete with all its opportunities and all its dangers. Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities starts with the words, ‘It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.’ Christmas is a bit like that.
On the one hand people who are lonely or needy can feel lonelier and needier than ever and it is a well established fact that the suicide rate always goes up at Christmas.
Yet it can be a wonderful time. It can bring a sense of peace and joy into life in a quite unique way. So how can we ensure we experience the best that Christmas can bring rather than the worst?
For a start Christmas is always best if we remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. There is bound to be a church not far from you. The odds are that it will offer a wide range of Christmas services, both traditional and informal. There will be carol services. There will be a range of Christmas Communions. There will be all sorts of Family Worship. There will be a variety of social occasions. Christmas will always be richer and better if we join in.
The season will also be enhanced if we celebrate the Christmas Child by offering Jesus a birthday present. The Bible tells us how to do this. Jesus had a particular concern for people in trouble, the poor, the lonely, the neglected, and he says ‘whatever you have done for the least of these my brothers, you have done for ME.’
So Christmas is a good time to send a donation to Oxfam or Christian Aid or Save the Children or to any of the wonderful organizations which work so hard to make the world a better place for the many who are in want. Or perhaps you can think of someone whom you could invite into your home for a Christmas meal – an elderly relative or a neighbour living alone or a friend who has been bereaved or may have a miserable Christmas because of some other problem or difficulty.
Can I make you a promise? You won’t lose out by this. Jesus said ‘ It is more blessed to give than to receive’ ‘Blessedness’ is the Bible’s name for deep happiness. Jesus promises that we have much more chance of real deep happiness if we are givers rather than grabbers. It’s all part of the message of Christmas. Don’t miss out on it.