“A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler.
He will be called ‘Wonderful Counsellor,’ ‘Mighty God,’ ‘Eternal Father,’ ‘Prince of Peace.”
Many of the more organised amongst us, and that definitely excludes me, will have made a start on their Christmas shopping. I’m sure that there will be many shelves in our village straining under the weight of thoughtfully purchased Christmas gifts. But imagine for a moment we had set aside a shelf full of things to remind us of Christmas, what would we find there? Surely there would be a cross, reminding us of why Jesus came. “He shall save his people from their sins.” After all, Jesus was born to die and rise again for you and for me.
Next, there would be a model of a stable, reminding us of His humble birthplace “no room for them at the inn.”
The next item on our Christmas shelf would be a star, reminding us of God’s guidance to His Son.
Then we would need three Kings, reminding us that Jesus was born “Prince of Peace.”
We would also need some shepherds on our shelf to remind us that the “good news of great joy” was for all people.
Then we would need room for a Christmas tree, reminding us of Victorian Christmases past.
Then we would need a Santa, to remind us to spend money on one another because it’s the Christmas thing to do!
When we add other signs, like the robin, the turkey, the lights, mistletoe etc. the shelf gets so full that all the signs of Jesus’ birth are removed to make way for other things.
But if our Christmas celebrations do not have Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection at the centre, we do not celebrate the Light coming into the world. So look long and hard at your Christmas shelf. How full is it, and with what? Christmas certainly makes a very welcome change. There is definitely a change of attitude, we are thinking about other people more. We even “see” Jesus in the shops on Christmas cards and in nativity scenes, the manger has become familiar again. Yes, Christmas is a very blessed time and even if it lasts only one day how wonderful it is. But this challenging year why not be different?
This year why not arrange your Christmas shelf with the real signs of Christ’s birth. Why not let Christmas change your heart? That way Christmas will last all year round.