Looking for the ideal Christmas gift? Call off the search. Two thousand years ago, God sent a baby, his son Jesus, into our world not to condemn, but that the world might be saved through him. It was the greatest gift ever given.
For most of us, December is a frenetic, stressful period of time pressure and financial strain, followed by a sprint for the line to get ready. It is important to strip all that away, and take time to marvel at what we are celebrating. Gods presence came to live among us, and he will come again.
Christmas is a time for children. The child Jesus, celebrated in Nativity plays, helpless and lying in grime, is the ruler of heaven and earth. The church makes great efforts to reach new generations with the love and message of God. There are 6000 baptisms in the Diocese each year, 200 church schools, and 100 Messy Churches, teaching children that God loves them, they matter, that each of them is precious.
Christmas is also a time for generosity and goodwill. This Christmas, followers of Jesus are running food banks, helping credit unions, organising meals for refugees, in a thousand ways remembering those among us who are lonely, heartbroken, sick, or struggling. Jesus calls his followers to give abundantly, to love giving as much as we love receiving. Gods love makes us want to give.
Why is Christmas special? Because Christmas starts with Christ. It starts with a newborn baby who grew up to give his life for us all. It is the greatest gift ever given. Jesus said he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. You are warmly invited to come to church this Christmas and share in that light.