| Dec 21, 2006

Feature Article - December 21

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Christmas content 2006

Christmas Message

from Rev. Jean Brown, United Church of Canada


The excitement of Chistmas is in full swing as Christmas lights and decorations appear to brighten the darkness; and hopes and expectations increase with each new day. Many, in this time of year, are transported back to their childhood and those magical days of cosy fires, endless presents and endless love both given and received. Many remember with fondness family gatherings before they knew the pain of divorce, disappointment, or deaths of loved ones. Many, upon hearing the Christmas music hope that it would drown out the pressures and complexities of our modern world.


The bad news is that no matter how much we decorate or spend it will not make Christmas like it was when we were children, and it will not hold back our troubles, or change the world or bring us happiness. The good news is that the infant Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas time is the One whose words, and life brings us hope, encouragement and whose birth points to our need for a Saviour, for a “God-with –us” Emmanuel and for a change in our lives.

It is in believing, learning, hoping and celebrating the religious reason for this season that Christmas really comes to life and makes sense out of the frantic feasting, shopping, eating. It is only when we grasp this idea that Christmas then becomes a time of freedom from endless feasting and of spending money we don’t have on gifts that no one needs, and Christmas comes to life as a religious celebration and as an opportunity to renew the faith or to explore it more deeply and fully.

Only the re-birth and renewal of our faith can make Christmas something that is more than a frantic time of feasting until we are sick of chocolate, or buying presents that no one really wants or needs. The Christmas lights can not soften the harshness of life and will not hold back the darkness of sorrows or mistakes. All the present wrapping in the world will not cover up our pains and sorrows, however God is willing to accompany us in our pain and offer us serenity and peace in the face of everyday living, and forgiveness that is vast and free.

And so our hope is in God, our Higher Power who is gracious, kind and willing to forgive and to accompany us in living. And so we have hope and can be happy and celebrate at Christmas time even when our finances aren’t the greatest, or our jobs aren’t too secure, or our health is failing or our loved ones have died. So, do let’s claim the real reason for Christmas and renew our faith at the many church services and events listed in our fabulous newspaper.

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