Christmas - 'God with us'
...'so what do I buy?'
Christmas is a time of joy as we celebrate the coming of God in the Baby of Bethlehem. We remember the joy and celebration of angels and shepherds, and the wonderment of Mary and Joseph.
Christmas is a time of giving, and yet we have so much already. Could we give using those alternate 'quirky' gift catalogues sponsored by aid agencies? Our family has supported school supplies, gardens, goats, toilets, etc. The agency forwards a card with details of the particular gift to us, we write a greeting in it (with appropriate Aussie humour about goats, toilets, school days, etc.) and then send it to a family member or friend. This approach or a donation to a friend's favourite charity on their behalf, all help raise our collective vision from 'my inbox of gifts' to 'the outbox of life for others'.
Christmas is a time of sadness as loved ones are missed from this year's celebrations: illness, work or death may have taken them from our midst. Christmas is a time to remember, to give thanks for what was and to support and listen to one another.
Christmas is a time of reflecting on life. Why the hype and fun and intensity? Will the new industrial relations workchoices give greater choice to our gifts, our joy and our possibilities to attend Christmas and family celebrations? Will a culture of fear destroy our freedoms? Will hope override terror or will we be terrorised? Will faith, hope and love become Australian idols?
Christmas is a time of frustration, anger and depression where there is little or no work, money or community.
Christmas is a time of giving of ourselves, especially the gift of our time, of being with one another. A motto could be: 'more than money to give presents, with our presence give love'. Perhaps a telephone call, an invitation to a picnic or a walk; these are the precious gifts of relationship. 'Love one another as I have loved you' (to quote the adult Baby of Bethlehem).
Christmas is a time of imagining new ways of celebrating life. Let your imagination and heart run riot! Share these ideas with family and friends. New expressions of Christmas will spring up and transform and enrich the Church and society.
Christmas is a time of deciding to live towards others in acts of love.
Christmas is a time of worship. Let us worship God with thankful hearts for the gift of God's own self in the Baby of Bethlehem.
Celebrate Christmas in love and worship.