Christmas is about so much more than the birth of a baby. For us the Incarnation is a key theological theme that illuminates our understanding of what came before Christ and continues to inform our views of the present and the future. This visible commitment of God to the universe, coming in the form of the most vulnerable, a baby, defines the Christian understanding of a God who is more than just on the side of the poor and suffering, but that God is one of the poor and suffering.
This incarnation of the kingdom of God into our world has become so familiar that it has lost all its impact. Christmas has become a time for sentimentality, but it also offers us opportunities to engage with a society which generally ignores God’s message. How we welcome people into our church services and the quality of our worship may draw people closer to God, if we are seeking to spread God’s kingdom through the welcome we give.
For many in our society Christmas is the time to sing the familiar carols, a family time and a time to over indulge in food and drink. However, for a significant number it is a time of debt and depression. How we respond to those who are most disenfranchised, those who cannot celebrate as our society expects, shows how we would serve the one who came as a babe in a manger and a lonely man on a cross. Our task is to serve those who are lonely, suffering, poor, disabled and disadvantaged.
At SMc on 16th December there will be a ‘Blue Christmas’ service for those who find Christmas to be a time of sadness rather than joy. For families the Café on the Green Nativity on Friday 21st December will be a great event.
Once again we have only planned for four services on the Sunday after Christmas each led by one of the Circuit ministers. We hope that congregations will travel to the one nearest to them. This enables us to give our Local Preachers a Sunday free, a thank you for all that they do Sunday by Sunday.
I would also draw your attention to the ‘Talking Together’ services which are at 5.00 p.m. at SMc once a month and will continue to address important issues in the life of the Methodist Church and society in general.
Helen and I hope that you will have a happy and meaningful Christmas.