CHRISTMAS LETTER | PHIL MANN
Well, the waiting is almost over, not much longer to get those last minute gifts, get the wrapping done and get all the food ready - don’t forget the sprouts!! Why do we put ourselves through this every year? Stress, financial pressure, excessive amounts of waste, family strain, and more stress. For some this is definitely not ‘the most wonderful time of the year,’ in fact it’s a painful reminder of loss, grief and life not working out as they had longed for. So again I ask -
why do we do this to ourselves?
Well the answer, as always, is Jesus! At the centre of the mayhem that we have turned Christmas into, is the gift of a child born for us. As the angel said to the shepherds in Luke chapter 2 “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Those words and the promise of great joy is for us today as much as it was for the shepherds 2000 years ago. For some of us, we need to hear the words, “Do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid of the forced fun you are supposed to enjoy with your family this Christmas. Do not be afraid of facing into the pain of loss. Do not be afraid of what 2019 might bring you because a “Saviour has been born to you.” As the prophet Isaiah wrote
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
A child is born, a son is given - the Saviour, the Messiah, the Lord, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace - to you, “and they will call him Immanuel” which means “God with us”.
So may you receive the greatest gift ever given this Christmas. May you know that you are not alone in whatever circumstances you find yourself in, whether it’s full of stress and pain or full of celebration. And as you take this gift given into your hearts, may you be filled with a deep joy. Now that really does make it all worthwhile…