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What do you love best about the Christmas season?

I know we all like to have a moan about the shops being filled with Christmas frippery from August onwards.

I can remember when I had The Tolsey Shop we put our Christmas window displays in on Remembrance Sunday. That probably sounds disrespectful, but it was almost a tradition that we would be filling the windows with Christmas decorations as the Silver Band led everyone through the town after the Service at St Marys.

Even if we are not church goers there is something energising and life giving about turning up for The Christingle Service on Christmas Eve or stumbling down to the church for Midnight Mass!!… Our churches are packed. It is a tradition that everyone loves, even though it annually gives our health and safety officer a few sleepless nights!!

Of course, Christmas can also be a very difficult time. It can be a financial nightmare. It can also hold emotional strings too. We may be separated from the people we want to be with. We may feel we have to put on a happy face, when in fact our real preference is to switch off the lights and hide under the duvet until the 27th Dec.

So, what is Christmas really all about? No don’t stop reading, I’m not going to go all religious on you. Ok, maybe just a bit, but we all love and know the Nativity story.

Jesus was born in a strange place to people that weren’t rich. They were given an animal shelter to have their baby. It was all a bit of a hurry, messy, there was no room at the inn. God chose this very basic place for His son to be born. A place full of earth, of hay and quite a lot of another form of organic matter too!!

They had nothing and yet they had everything.

God chose this place for his son to be born, and the people he chose to be present at the birth were hard working simple folk. The Three Kings came weeks or even months later!!

This tells us something very important. What is special to God, may not be what we find special, or impressive, or kinglike. The birth of this special baby happened in a place chosen by God and is a sign to all of us about what’s important at Christmas time. God is with us, in all places. And what he finds special and important is something much deeper. It is something within our hearts and within our weakness and messiness.

This Christmas might not be shiny, expensive, or perfect. Who cares!

Because, maybe in the messiness we might find something much more special than expensive gifts.

Joy can be found in the most unexpected places. We might even find it in our own brokenness.

Christmas is about shining the light of hope into each other’s lives. And that costs nothing.

Have a good one.

Rev Lesley