December 2017

January 16, 2018

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

The Christmas decorations are up in the street. Shops have their Christmas displays and adverts. Cards and presents have been bought. Christmas Dinner has been planned. The church has prepared its Christmas programme. Everything is in order. We have done it so often that we do not stop to ask what we are doing and why we are doing it. It happens like clockwork. So maybe we should step aside for a moment and ask those fundamental questions.

We are celebrating the birth of the Son of God, the Saviour of the World, the King of the Universe, the One through whom everything was created, Jesus Christ our Lord and our God. This is a monumental, marvellous occasion and deserves the best we can give it. And the best is not defined by monetary value. It is defined by an attitude of heart, soul and mind.

When a family member or friend has a birthday we give them a card, a gift and our time. When it is Jesus birthday it often seems that everyone else except him get a card, a gift and our time.  In one sense that is great because Jesus wants us to give to others. On the other hand it might all be a smokescreen to avoid the thinking about what Jesus wants from us.

We often ask people what they would like for their birthday or Christmas. When did we last ask Jesus the same question. We may not need to ask the question because he has already told us. In Micah we find these words ‘What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ (Micah 6 v 8). In several places Jesus says to people ‘follow me’. He also tells us to obey his commandments, stop sinning, love our neighbour, proclaim the Gospel message and to make disciples.

We live in a world full of problems and Jesus has told us we are to be salt and light bringing joy and hope to the world. What do we have to say to immigrants who have fled their home to find safety, sanctuary and security? What about those who will lose their universal credit at Christmas simply because the government scheme is based on calendar months and they are paid weekly? What about those living in war zones and places of violence and destruction? What about those who cannot find work or a decent home or food for their families? What about those who cannot get vital health care when they need it? What about the people of Bethlehem and other Palestinian towns this Christmas, what do we as Christians say to them?

What will you give Jesus this Christmas?