Amidst the build up towards the Christmas season, the Church does its best to remind society that ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season’. Catchy soundbites like this can help to keep the true meaning of Christmas current and remind the wider public as to what Christmas is really about. However, understanding and exploring who Jesus is, what he has done, what he is doing now, and what he will do in the future should help us to relocate him from being the reason behind our celebrations to the very forefront of them.
Christians claim Jesus is God himself, who lived as human being, was executed, then rose again, before ascending back to heaven from where he had originally come. His life, death and resurrection have made it possible for us to live in relationship with God, and be saved from death and the power of sin in our lives. Jesus invites us into relationship with God, making Christianity far more than just ‘another religion’, belief system or philosophy. Central to the Christian faith is this relationship with God through Jesus Christ made effective and real by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
All humans were created to be in relationship, and also to be fulfilled. This Christmas some people will search for fulfilment through excess drinking, eating and spending. Yet many will realise they remain unfulfilled when the parties are over, and Christmas is done for another year. Being in relationship with Jesus fulfils us in so many more important ways. He satisfies our hunger for meaning and purpose in life, our hunger for life beyond death, our hunger for forgiveness.
Jesus can be trusted; he claimed to be the unique Son of God – on an equal footing with God. He came not to condemn, but to forgive and show people that God loves us. He came to set us free from fear and guilt and give us power to change (whoever we are and whatever we have done). This Jesus whose birth we celebrate this month is the King of Kings and promises to return again to earth to reign, when all evil and injustice will finally be brought to heel. Now that’s worth celebrating! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!
Revd Andy Grant