Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | December 4, 2016

The Strong Word December 2016

 

I am sure you will agree with me, we have had a number of surprising things happen in 2016, including the shock results of Brexit and the Presidential election in America. It has also been sobering to watch many countries build large and long fences to keep out refugees. While in places on mainland Europe we have seen a number of “camps” appear, places like the “Jungle” in Calais, to house such refugees and Asylum seekers. Who could have believed it could all be like this in the 21st Century!

As we approach Christmas 2016, we are reminded of the first Christmas, when Mary and Joseph were in a similar situation to many modern refugees. If Jesus had been born in 2016 then it is likely he would have been born somewhere like the “Jungle”.

So, do you, like me find Christmas difficult? As “wealthy” and relatively comfortable Christians, we want a nice time! A happy time, just with those we are close to. Many don’t have time for Jesus or Church on Christmas day itself, we get the religious bits well out of the way before the “big” day! Then when Christmas Day itself is here, the sales begin and thousands go online after lunch to sell presents they don’t want, or we start booking next years holidays!

It is easy to build our fences as it were, to keep Jesus a safe distance away. To make sure that he doesn’t disturb or distract us, yet Christmas Day can be sad for many, there are always a goodly number who decide to divorce during the festive season!

May it not be so! Can we determine this year to ensure Jesus has his rightful place in our lives and in our Christmas celebrations? To make sure he is included, with his ways of love, joy, and peace. Can we make such ways the centre of our Christmas?

Can we seek his plans and purposes for us into the New Year and throughout 2017? Let us not put up a fence to force Jesus to walk miles to get into our lives, but make him welcome, open our lives and plans to be walking in his way in 2017.

John 1 verse 11 put it like this…”He came to his own but his own did not receive him….”

Just as Christmas lunch does not cook itself, nor presents wrap themselves, so Jesus does not just appear in our lives but needs a special invite and a place reserved in our hearts and lives.

In Luke 1v38 after Mary had been told of God’s plans for her life, she responded simply… “may it be as you have said”. Are these our words as we enter Christmas 2016 and then New Year 2017?

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