Monthly Reflection – Christmas 2014
Sorry for the delay in posting this. I know Christmas has now passed but the message is till relevant, so grab yourself a left over mince pie and a turkey sandwich and enjoy!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
Isaiah 9: 6-7
Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
It hardly seems possible that another year has passed and I am sitting in my living room with a huge mug of coffee writing this year’s Christmas message from the C.P.A.
In writing reflections for the C.P.A. or sermons for church I try and take a good look around to make them relevant to the world of 2014 that we all live in! This month however my inspiration is from events of Christmas 100 years ago- so well displayed in the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert and the events of the very first Christmas night around two thousand years ago!
A hundred years ago Europe was in the first months of what would later be called ‘The Great War’ that would last over four years and cost the lives of 8.5 million service men and women and would result in another 21 million casualties. In the midst of these first months of conflict many had said ‘it will all be over by Christmas’ but alas it wasn’t over by that Christmas or the next three Christmas celebrations. As Christmas dawned in 1914 the battlefields of the western front were in many places met by the sight of Trench parapets decorated with lit candles during the night and Christmas trees during the day, the singing of Christmas Carols in many languages and the strange and wonderful sight of Allied and German soldiers crossing ‘no man’s land’ -playing football, exchanging greetings and small gifts- dozens of men openly congregating in daylight on the battlefield was remarkable – and is seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of human history. These moments of peace were due to one thing- Christmas and Christmas alone- nothing else stopped the fighting!
The wonderful truth of this time of year is that Christmas is Christmas in every country and every language- in December 1914 it wasn’t just for the Germans or British but for everyone to share in even in the midst of war! This is as true today in the world where conflict is still rife as it was in 1914 and on the very first Christmas night when the Angel proclaimed– ‘Peace on earth and goodwill toward men’ (Luke 2:14). On that first Christmas thousands of years ago Peace came into the world in the baby called Jesus; born in a stable not in a palace or castle- Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.
The joyous news of the birth and life of Jesus Christ is that he came into this world on that first Christmas for each and every one of us to share in his Love, Forgiveness and Peace. In John 3: 16-17 it says- ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’
This wonderful Gift of God is open to everyone all you have to do is ask! – Jesus was born and lived a perfect life as an example to us all so that those who believe in him may have eternal life- The message of the Gospel was the same on the battlefields of 1914 and is equally as true today as it was when he originally preached! Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for me, for you for us all on the cross so that we can all share in God’s gift of Grace- and to quote another Christmas advert from this year– ‘It’s real love It’s real; It’s real love It’s real’.
So as another year comes to an end take time to share with others the message of Peace and Love that is unique to Christmas and the everlasting truth of the Gospel!
On behalf of your Branch leadership team and our families I would like wish you all a Blessed and Peaceful Christmas where ever you are spending it and all the best for 2015!