I was chatting to someone recently as we entered a restaurant and he was saying how much he disliked all the commotion of the run up to Christmas, Christmas should start on Christmas Day. Arriving at the table first, I quickly removed that restaurant's advertising for its seasonal offering!
The vital Christmas message
Amidst the clatter and clutter of December, Christmas too has a vital message for us. How we respond to it will fundamentally affect our future.
Such is the frenetic activity of the season, it's all too easy not to really hear that message- the message brought by an angel to shepherds one night in the hills near Bethlehem. 'Don't be afraid!' the angel said. I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! Your Saviour is born today in David's city. He is Christ the Lord.'
Many didn't hear the message, or chose to ignore it, but one who did, and who reflected deeply on it was the apostle John. He wrote: '(Jesus)came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.' It is my prayer that we will all hear and act on these messages this Christmas and find the peace and reconciliation with God that Jesus came to bring.
May I wish you a very happy Christmas?
Election hubbub …
There are at least two very important dates coming in December. The earlier, December 12 is, of course, General Election day and our political parties have already started bombarding us with messages, trying to distil the benefits of their policies into short soundbites we might remember and might cause us to give them our vote.
Or, more likely, soundbites telling us how bad the other parties' policies would be for the country, and how flawed their leaders are etc etc etc! No, I'm not going to add to those messages!
Many people find all the hullabaloo in the media tiresome. It's tempting to try to filter the whole lot out: to stop watching/listening to the news, to read newspapers' back pages, to chuck the candidates' flyers into the bin.
An important choice
But,amidst the hype and hubbub, an important choice faces the country.The outcome of the General Election will affect our lives, for better or worse. We have a responsibility to get beneath the brouhaha to identify what really matters and then vote accordingly.The future of the country depends on it.
The second very important date is December 25, Christmas Day. As with the General Election, we are bombarded with messages, especially from the advertisers of children's toys, luxury goods, seasonal food and alcohol.