December: The busiest month of the year? As the commercial side of the celebrations have become more elaborate and complicated so the expectations of many families have increased. We used to make a standard rich fruit cake with simple Christmas decoration, and perhaps a chocolate “log cake” for the great occasion. Now Christmas cakes are often far more complicated, with wedding cake type immaculate decorations, far too pretty to put a knife into and cut it up!
Likewise, the number of presents (for children and adults alike), have grown alarmingly, with most organisations having elaborate parties and a “Secret Santa” gift. All great fun for some people but extra stress, in an already busy life for others, which is a pity, because the build up to a celebration should be moderate enough to be fun.
The Church too prepares for Christmas with the Advent season, this year starting on Sunday 3rd December. But, whereas outside the Church it is all hustle and bustle, within the Church the emphasis is preparing for Christmas by waiting – waiting expectantly for that magical moment when, once again, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, once again we re-live the start of Jesus Christ’s journey through life.
Some Christmas cards cleverly, within the rafters of the stable, have the clear outline of a Cross to remind us just what this birth is all about. I know some people who try to get all their Christmas cards and much of the preparations for Christmas completed by Advent Sunday so that they can concentrate more fully on their spiritual preparations for Christmas, perhaps by reading the Bible or a Christian book. Some people choose to come to a Church service, and some choose to pray more, perhaps saying throughout Advent, “Come Lord Jesus Come” and as Christmas excitement mounts, saying “Emmanuel – God with us”. He is always with us but, maybe at Christmas, we are a little more aware of his presence.
December: The busiest month of the year. As we complete the numerous jobs waiting to be done before Christmas, maybe we can also prepare ourselves for the birth of the baby Jesus, because without the birth of Jesus, God’s Son, there would be no Christmas as we know it. We pray “God with us” as we prepare to accompany the shepherds as they leave the cares of the world for a short while to seek and find the infant Jesus. And with them we will see the glory of God and kneel and worship. Can we make room for God this Christmas?
I pray that throughout Advent and Christmas we will all say and know that God is with us.
I wish all our readers
“ A Very Happy and Blessed Christmas”
The Reverend Monica Taylor
The Church of England has produced a small pocket book of reflections for Christmas, called “God with Us”. The Archbishop of Canterbury writes:
“God with Us seeks to help you explore what the Christmas story might mean in your life. The constant refrain of Christmas in carols and readings is that God is with us. In whatever situations you find yourself this Christmas, God is with you.”
If you would like a copy, please ask Silke or pick up a copy in the Church, or you can get it delivered free to your phone or your inbox. To join the journey simply log on to the following website:
www.churchofengland.org/Christmas or text GODWITHUS to 88802