“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” So the song says, and I think I’m inclined to agree. I’ve never lost the childlike wonder that I used to feel as a boy concerning Advent and Christmas, and while it does change through the years, there’s just something about it that’s very special - parties and pantomimes, carols and cards, tinsel and trees, family and festivities, gifts and goodwill all make for a lovely time.
Recent years have, of course, seen increasingly desperate attempts by politically-correct do-gooders to remove the supposedly ‘offensive’ content of Christmas so that nobody need be upset by this ‘happy-holiday’ – though there doesn’t appear to be any record of anybody anywhere ever having been offended by being wished ‘A Happy Christmas.’ I’ve read that this year, with the increasing popularity of Christmas jumpers over recent years, you can buy a multi-cultural Christmas sweater that represents all of the world’s major religions!
Meanwhile, at this time of year I always like to reflect on something that CS Lewis wrote in his book, Mere Christianity: "The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God." That simple, poetic sentence underlines the deep profundity of the Incarnation, taking us right into the heart of the reason for the season.
Christ humbled - so that we could be lifted up.
He who was rich beyond all splendour became poor – so that we, through his poverty, could become rich.
Christ made himself nothing – so that, by God’s grace, we could be given everything.
The King took the nature of a servant – so that servants could become royal heirs.
Jesus, the sinless one, died - so that we, sinners, can live in Him.
Whether or not Jesus was actually born on the 25th December (and he most likely wasn’t) is not really the point. The point is that this is amazing news that ought to be received with great thanks; that ought to be believed with true conviction; that ought to be celebrated with deep joy; that ought to be proclaimed with clear passion; and that ought to be responded to with real worship.
I want to wish all who read this – in Falkirk Free Church and beyond – all the peace and joy of the season, and a real and abiding joy in the Lord Jesus Christ, who became man so that we could become sons and daughters of the living God.