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It’s Christmas! Why?

December 24, 2015

One of the great things about my job is that I get to spend time in schools. I find children and young people refreshing. I’ve loved the various nativity plays. In one a little girl was overcome by it all and began to cry, so she was helped off stage. Another girl came off stage to sit with her and give her a hug. Then they both went back up again. In that simple natural act of love I learned about Christmas, all over again.

I needed that. Christmas is such a busy and commercial time that any sense of specialness can be lost. I can feel tired and jaded. But that’s not the case with little children. Christmas is all bright and new. They see the world with fresh eyes and they help me to do the same. It’s so easy to stop thinking and questioning, but not when you are with young children who will ask the questions most adults are too polite to ask: Not when you are with a small child who keeps asking “Why?”

“That’s a bee.”
“What does it do?”
“It buzzes and makes honey from the flowers it visits.”
“Why?”
“So it has food.”
“Why?” and so on.

Or even more challenging, “What’s that?”
“That’s a caterpillar.”
“Why?”

Or even the question I really need at this time of year, “This is Christmas.”
“Why?”

“It’s Christmas.”
“Why?”

“Why is it Christmas?”
“It’s December 25th“
“Why?”

A good question. Why Christmas? Why is Christmas important?

To me Christmas is important because it brings hope to ordinary people like those shepherds, like you and me, like Joseph the carpenter and Mary too. God is so hard to understand but a baby, we all understand the hope and promise that comes with a baby. Yes, I know there is so much more Jesus, more to THIS baby, but God starts where you are, where I am, with something we can understand.

God knows I can’t understand him. God knows I can’t reach him. God knows I’ve tried!

So God decided to come down to us give us at least a fighting chance of understanding something about him. First a baby is a focus for love and devotion. I don’t know about you but I can’t help it, I see a baby and I smile; I feel a sense of love. God is showing us, through this baby, that he loves us, and also that he wants us to love him back.

God chose to come to us as a baby. A baby is helpless, it can’t force us to do anything. God who is all powerful has chosen not to force us into anything. I’ve certainly found that God wants me to to respond to his love, with love, but love that real love can’t be forced.

A baby is the centre of a new family. When there’s a baby relationships need to change and grow. Self-focused love now needs to expand and grow. I know it can be hard, but who ever said love was easy? This baby is saying to us that God’s love is the basis for all that is precious and wholesome, that in loving we are sharing God’s love. If you’ve ever spent time with a baby you’ll also know that God is also telling us that his love and my love has to be practical. My little girl is all grown up now but I still remember that babies cry in the middle of the night, that babies need nappy changes as well as nice giggly cuddles!

Like all little children, the little baby in the manger at Christmas leaves us with questions too. A baby is a bundle of hope for the future. I can’t help looking into the eyes of a baby and wondering, “Who are you?” “What are you going to do as you grow?” “Who are you going to show yourself to be?”. And yes, “Why?”. Little baby, “What are you doing here?” “Why did you come?”

Christmas is the start of a very special story of how God came to us in a way that we can understand. God’s message of love and hope is not complicated, it’s not difficult. This is the start of a story, a story that starts with a little baby, and the question, “Why?”
God bless, and Happy Christmas.

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