What makes a 'perfect Christmas?' Here's our latest blog post from Rev. Justin Montague.
One of the major fascinations at this time of year are the Christmas adverts. Over recent years we have had John Lewis and Boots focus on the perfect gift for the perfect person. For Tesco it was the perfect Christmas food and Amazon offering everything for the perfect Christmas get-together. Whilst a previous Morrisons advert served up the rather bold claim; ‘Christmas – Morrisons makes it’, implying perhaps anywhere else I choose to do my festive shopping would somehow leave Christmas incomplete.
In fact, many companies have gone to extraordinary lengths in effort, creativity and resources to feature a perfect Christmas story in the annual advert competition to bring their strapline to life. Aldi’s adventures of Kev the Carrot this year features footballer Marcus ‘Radishford’ Rashford.
I do enjoy the Christmas adverts, anthems playing in every store in town, the smell of wood burning and cinnamon spices, the taste of mince pies and those oh so cheesy American Christmas movies broadcast every afternoon on channel 5 throughout December. How often though does what we read, see and hear in this season set unrealistic expectations and create an immense sense of pressure to get things ‘just-right’ in a quest to make December 25th ‘perfect?'
In can be easy to drive ourselves into the ground trying to keep up, to overstretch financially, emotionally, physically, and even relationally. And by the time that Christmas Day comes, our fuses are shorter, things do not go at all as we would like, we are burnt out and just end-up falling asleep watching E.T. in the afternoon.
Well, the Good News is that we are not called to make Christmas perfect nor called to try and make our lives perfect. We are called to make room in our lives for a perfect God. Christmas is a reminder to us all that God came to us; came into the messiness of life, the imperfect, and the struggle, to be with us, to do something about it, something that has eternal consequences.
The season of Advent, these 4-weeks preceding Christmas, is a time in the Christian calendar for us to slow down, as counterculture as that may feel, and to reflect upon Immanuel – God with us. A time to prepare and to fix our focus, not simply toward the lights, trees and decorations, but ultimately towards Jesus, who is the light of the world. God himself who took on flesh and made His dwelling among us and who will come again.
This season does not start or end with gifts under the tree or a table full of food, that are here one day but gone the next. This season starts and ends with God’s story, and you are written into the script. So, when you hear the nativity story once again, the Shepherds, the magi (wise men), the guiding star, and the manger, my prayer is that you may know it is too a personal story. For in the coming of Jesus Christ, you and I are written into God’s salvation story, the perfect gift God offers to each one of us.
Is there a better time than today to receive this priceless gift?
Grace and peace
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