Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas messages

I have taken some time the last few days, following the Christmas activities, to read some of the messages friends and family have sent in their greetings cards. I love the messages we send each other at Christmas.

I love too that we remember that we serve and have fellowship with a God who communicates with us. John uses his language carefully as he writes the gospel, “in the beginning was the word, and the word was God…and the word became incarnated and lived amongst us…”

God sends a maessage, a word, his word, the word. And that message? Well, it seems to me we’ve gotten a bit confused about it. Some have mistaken it as bad news “You’re in big trouble with God!” or an offer of fire insurance “heading for hell? Depend on Jesus…”. Some think the message is about rules, regulations, committees, structures, abstract concepts and remote ideals.

The message was and is more simple. God’s word to us at Christmas was and is “I love you”.

I love you.

I love you just as you are, but far too much to leave you that way.

I love you so much that I want to tell you in person, not just through prophets and ancient writers.

I love you so much I want you to know real peace, joy, hope, purpose.

I love you.

So, when someone sends you a message like that, what do you do? And when the gospel begins with that message, rather than the fallen state of humanity, what does that do?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Unwrapping

Christmas

Crackers and cards

Reindeer and robins

Snowmen and Santa

Decorations and duckling

Legs of turkey and laden trees

Tacky baubles and tinkling bells

Dodgy telly and dodgier tummies

Cranberry sauce and carol singing

Shepherds and stars, angels and animals

Incense and innkeepers, myrrh and mangers

Gifts of gold and Gabriel’s song, Magi’s worship and Mary’s wonder

Joseph’s heart jumps at baby’s first cry, a child has been born and a crowd has been drawn.

Then from Bethlem’s crib to a cruel cross, from a virgin womb to a borrowed tomb

From babe’s first cry to blood’s last drop, from the child’s laugh to the dying man’s gasp

From the wronged to the loved comes the gift of forever

The babe is then wrapped in the leftover paper

The box is stashed with the tinsel and lights

The love of the Father awaits rediscovery

In the unexplored package

Left in the cupboard

Christmas