Over the last few weeks we have been bombarded with the coming of Christmas. The shops are busy trying to sell us everything they can and the radio constantly plays Christmas carols. And in a year where Covid has put a real dampener on things, people are looking forward to a time of celebration.
Here in NZ we are fortunate to be able to gather together and to make the most of the festivities. But this week in England the Government there has now banned all Christmas gatherings saying the risk of spreading Covid is too great. It’s hard here in NZ to imagine not being able to meet and celebrate Christmas with friends and family. We have much to be grateful for.
But this isn’t the first time England has shut down Christmas. In 1644 the then Puritan controlled parliament led by Oliver Cromwell banned the singing of Christmas carols and then in 1647 it banned Christmas outright. It became illegal to celebrate on Christmas day and anyone doing so was sentenced to prison. And it was done not because the Government were anti-God but because they believed people had too much fun. There was too much drinking and partying and other ‘unbecoming behaviour’. Instead of celebrating with food and wine the Puritans insisted that people observe the day by fasting instead. Well as you can guess this law was pretty unpopular but it wasn’t until Oliver Cromwell was defeated and King Charles restored to the throne that Christmas was reinstituted in 1660. I’m sure we could all eat or drink a little less on Christmas day but I sure wouldn’t want to make it a day of fasting.
After all we are celebrating the greatest event in the history of the world - the birth of the Christ, the Messiah,the one who has come to save and restore our world.
Listen to these words recorded by Luke spoken by the angels, "Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day in David's town your Savior was born---Christ the Lord! And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
This story which most of us will be very familiar with is a story of joy. A young couple have the joy of their first child. The shepherds hear the angels say just how special this child is and all who heard were amazed at what they heard. This joyous occasion is made even more joyful because this is no ordinary baby, this is the child who is the Christ, the Messiah. The Saviour.
And that is good news for all people for you and for me. In Jesus, God comes and dwells amongst us In Jesus, God comes to bring life and hope. In Jesus, God comes to overthrow evil and to establish a kingdom of love. In Jesus, God comes to put everything right. In Jesus, God comes to show that you and I are loved by the one who created us and calls us his children. And that is something to celebrate with all the angels in heaven and with a little bit of good cheer.
May God bless you all this Christmas.
This is our last weekly post for the next three weeks. Will be back middle of January!
This Sunday We head to Mathew’s story of Jesus and some of the names mentioned in Jesus list of ancestors. We’ll be focussing on the names of five women who make that list – five quite unusual people who each have a story to tell. This week we will hear the story of Mary.
Children during the school holidays children will join us in the service.
Mainly Music will restart Wednesday 10 February 2021. If you have small children feel free to join us.
Small Groups Currently in recess over the holiday period but contact the church if you would like to join one
Oh and for those who are unable to join us we will still have an on-air service for you @10.30am and again @ 8pm on Thursday evening on Coast Access Radio 104.7FM or you can livestream at
http://coastaccessradio.org.nz/Listen/index.aspx The message and prayers will also be posted to the sermon page on this website.
If at this time you need someone to chat with then please call the church office 04 2987766 or email email@example.com and we’ll get back to you.
And we are also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/paraparaumubaptist
Grace and peace