24 Dec 2010

At this time of year it is easy to get caught up in all the things that need to be done – shopping, sending cards, preparing meals, nights out, cleaning the flat (my brother and his wife are coming to stay!), etc, etc. Yet as for all birthdays, it is good to spend time with the person whose birthday it actually is.

Presumably, like other people when they celebrate their birthday, Jesus likes to have friends and relations spending time with him. I guess he is disappointed when they are too busy and forget about him, even on Christmas Day itself.

And I confess that I can be guilty of all this too. It’s great to spend time with my family and my friends and even to get time on my own; but it’s all too easy for me to let Jesus himself get squeezed out.

Last Sunday (19th December) was a great opportunity to attend some of the many church services around the east end of Glasgow. First I was at St Francis of Assisi in Baillieston, then Parkhead Congregational, and finally Victoria Tollcross. That mix seemed appropriate as our many churches in the area can be divided roughly one-third Church of Scotland, one-third Catholic, and one-third others.

And are all these churches really so different from each other? Certainly the style varies a bit between them. But the actual message was almost exactly the same in each one: Jesus is God, he came down to earth and was born of the Virgin Mary, he later went on to die on the cross for our sins, rose back to life, and will one day return and everyone will see Him. Best of all, we can have a friendship with him right here and now. That message was present in all the churches.

So my prayer is that you and your family have a tremendous time at Christmas… and that you will also enjoy the friendship of Jesus at this his birthday time.