Christmas Blog: December 2015 to January 2016

Dear Friends,

How are you doing with your Christmas shopping? This year I have surprised myself and will have almost finished my shopping before the beginning of December (I know this doesn’t sound like me, but it’s true!). As we go about getting ready buying presents for family and friends we are reminded that Christmas is the season for giving. Although this is certainly true, I want to offer another perspective and say that it is also the season for receiving.

Now receiving gifts can prompt a number of reactions and responses, the following might seem familiar: Oooh you’re too kind… I couldn’t possibly accept this… You shouldn’t have… But I haven’t got you anything… Sometimes we might even feel guilty about receiving a gift because we believe that we do not somehow deserve it.

In addition if we receive something from someone that we don’t really know, or only have a vague connection with, we can get suspicious and wonder what the catch might be. Now those suspicions are even further aroused when the gift is free. But you see God loves us so much that he gives us a gift through the birth of his son and that gift is life. Jesus comes full of grace and the offer of salvation, his coming at Christmas is the beginning of that offer. Now we might find it difficult to receive this gift because we think that we do not deserve it, or that we have not earned it or even that we have nothing to give in return. There are some who might also struggle that Jesus’s gift of grace and life is free and look for the catch. But let me tell you that this gift of life is free to you, there is no way that you can earn it or deserve it, but Jesus comes out of pure love to accept you as you come to him. Now Jesus famously said on Mark 10:

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’

Now generally if you give children a present or a gift, they don’t make excuses about how they should not be receiving it. Often they get excited and can’t wait to open it. We are to be like this with the gift that comes to us in and through Jesus. Make space this Christmas to receive the greatest gift of all, don’t make excuses, don’t feel guilty or unworthy, the gift is for you. The final thing about receiving a gift is that in order to receive it we have to put down the things that we are holding on to. You cannot accept the gift if you already have your hands full. Can I encourage you to put down all the things that you are carrying, the feelings of unworthiness or pain or suspicion or whatever other burdens you have. Put them down and receive the gift with both hands. A final prayer that might be useful: Caring God, instead of striving to earn your love or to deserve your goodness, teach me simply to open my heart to your overflowing grace and to receive the love you so freely give. In Christ’s name I ask it. Amen Have a great Christmas and good New Year…..if you can why not join us for our advent Devotions, every Monday night in Advent from 7pm.

Can I encourage you to put down all the things that you are carrying, the feelings of unworthiness or pain or suspicion or whatever other burdens you have. Put them down and receive the gift with both hands. A final prayer that might be useful: Caring God, instead of striving to earn your love or to deserve your goodness, teach me simply to open my heart to your overflowing grace and to receive the love you so freely give. In Christ’s name I ask it. Amen Have a great Christmas and good New Year…..if you can why not join us for our advent Devotions, every Monday night in Advent from 7pm.

God bless
Rev Nick