NOT SO PERFECT CHRISTMAS
Most of the time a gift is a great thing to receive at Christmas. Something we have wanted for a long time maybe, something we’ve seen only recently but we knew we immediately that we wanted it. The not so great gifts are the jumper chosen by your great aunt or the toy that you already have! The fact that things don’t always go the way we would want at Christmas, the disappointments, the arguments all point to a world that isn’t quite as it should be. For some people Christmas is a cold lonely season and, for them, this time of year is anything but cheery. Our world isn’t the perfect place we would want it to be; it is broken and damaged.
A BRIGHT STAR
In the bible, the Birth of Jesus is announced with a star. Light in the darkness. It leads the shepherds to Bethlehem and guides the Wise Men from the East. It settles over the place where Jesus, the baby, lay in a manger. Not the best place for the birth of a future king but the right place, planned by God since the beginning of time. When we think about all the damage, the brokenness, the loneliness we blame God that he hasn’t done anything about it. But here in a stable, 2000 years ago, God sent a baby, his son, to sort things out. His Christmas Gift to humankind. His Christmas Gift to You.
WHO IS KING?
Time to ask a difficult question: who are you living for? It would be great if we could say, we did everything for our family, or we gave everything to our community, or our partner, our children. The truth is more likely that we try and put others first but in reality we end up thinking first and foremost about ourselves. If we had to choose the rules we live by, they would be our own. If we had to think about God, he would be after everything else, even if we do keep a small part of our hearts for him… just in case one day we need him. The God that created us and our world deserves more than just a little corner of our lives.
THE PATH WE’RE ON
When everything else crowds in and we push God out there is a consequence. When we chase after the things of this world we will get the things of this world and one day, when we die, that will be all that we have… the brokenness, the damage, the loneliness.
God offers a solution: Jesus, born in an outhouse with animals all around, who would become King. Not crowned with gold but with thorns, not sitting on a throne but hanging on a cross. Why? So that our relationship with God could be restored, so that we could be forgiven from leading a life which ignored God and put ourselves as our own king.
GOD’S AMAZING GIFT FOR YOU
One of the writers of the Bible wrote this:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. “
John chapter 3 verse 16
Claim God’s amazing gift for you by saying a simple prayer
“Dear God, I know I have done wrong and left you out of my life and I am sorry. Thank you for giving me Jesus and what he has done for me in dying in my place. Help me to follow you and to live for you in all I do. Amen”
If you have prayed the prayer above then you have just made the first step and only step needed to receive God’s forgiveness. You don’t have to “do” anything else, God has done it all. That said there are things that will help you to grow in your new relationship with God as your heavenly father and as a follower of Jesus.
- tell someone – tell a Christian friend, tell us. Telling someone will help concrete your decision and let someone rejoice for you and with you. They may also be able to help with the next steps too.
- join a church – finding a church as a new Christian can be difficult. If you are already going to one, great, but talk with someone about finding a church
- starting reading the bible – all we need to know about God, his character, what he has done, his plans for the world are in the bible. Perhaps start by reading about Jesus life in Mark’s Gospel – it is nice and short!
- pray – a relationship with God is a two-way thing. Start up a conversation with him by praying (this just means talking to God). Find a quiet place tell him your thoughts, your worries, thank him for things he has done, ask for help with things in your life. There is no special format, just speak what is on your heart.
- be realistic – being a Christian doesn’t remove all life’s problems, sometimes they get worse! But from now on you go through life with the creator of the universe as your friend. Whatever comes along, he already knew, and his plan is to make you fit for heaven, building in you faithfulness, love, gentleness, patience, humility, kindness and hope.
- Get in contact with us and tell us your story: firstname.lastname@example.org