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The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Does anyone else notice the shift in our mood as we edge towards December? The weight of negativity lifting, allowing the effortlessness of positivity, joy and hope to be the disposition we adopt as we embrace the festive season.

It seems that this year, after a long time of being cooped up, having various restrictions lifted, freeing us mentally and physically, there is a firm determination to make sure that this Christmas, 2021, is the best yet. Gifts, gatherings, and gorgeous food. Christmas trees and lights are bigger and brighter – decorations are maximized - eco-friendly of course – but

definite statements are being made.

But why the shift? And why is it so noticeable? I think we can all agree that this has been a difficult 20 months for the world and it continues to be so. A global pandemic has reduced us all if not into pessimism, into realism. Even the most optimistic cannot deny the worry and frustration it has caused; and within its hold, other events such as natural disasters, wars, poverty, racism, pollution, take their toll, and add to the weight of whatever personal problems life gives us to endure, affecting our health, wealth, and relationships. We listen and watch resigned to the new way of life; growing resentful and recoiling at the scenes that play out around us - hoping that sense, and reason will soon return but realizing, internally, we’re descending into decay, globally and morally. Maybe this is why we all like Christmas, we purposefully gravitate to the joyous, and frivolous so that we can drown out all the negativity that surrounds us as we embrace joy for at least a season.

Christmas brings with it a hope, the well-known song describes it as ‘The most wonderful time of the year’. Or, 'The happiest season of all’. And all kinds of adverts and stories support this claim, directing our thoughts to make us believe it. An example being the well known story of Scrooge. Whether we know it through book or film; whether it’s a fun muppet version or a dark BBC adaptation we respond because of the peculiarity of a man who is mean, grumpy and solitary at Christmas and we rejoice at the end because he joins in the merriment of Christmas.

Christmas is a season that is full of familiarity and tradition bringing with it a warmth and a sense of security in an uncertain world. Traditional Christmas stories are told over and over again, adapted in many ways but recognizable, nonetheless. Old Christmas songs and carols play on repeat in the background, familiar smells of roasted chestnuts, caramelised onion, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and orange waft through the air. Carol services, Nativity plays, Christmas fairs, pantomimes and the like, routinely make us feel cossetted, the well-known and well-loved putting us at ease. Then there’s generosity, not just in gifts and hospitality but in our nature too – how often do we hear ‘Oh it’s Christmas’ this becomes the new ‘it’s ok’ or ‘don’t worry about it’ offering the hearer many benefits and offers of forgiveness that doesn’t happen at any other time of the year.

But for me and many other Christians, this joy and favour we experience isn’t limited to a season. Because as we enter the Christmas season we remember the birth of Jesus, the nativity the story of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and wise men worshipping the babe in a manger; the Angels singing and glorifying God. But, why? Who is he? What is so significant about him.

Why does this baby give us such joy and favour? Why did the angels sing and the shepherds and wise men worship. What did Mary ponder on?

This tiny baby conceals the nature of who He is, and what He would do; being the answer to our truest need.

The answer to those questions, is perhaps found in what lies behind such a familiar and endearing story, which is the generosity of his love. The birth of Jesus marks the beginning of Gods plan to bridge the gap between God and man, revealing the extent to which he would go for us. This tiny baby conceals the nature of who He is and what He would do; being the answer to our truest need. This is why it gives us real joy. The Christmas story is a remarkable expression of love, which is why the angels rejoice. The shepherds and wise men worship and we as Christians give thanks even as we wonder at it all.

There are many beautiful carols that tell the story of the nativity but this one is perfect in explaining why. Please find the lyrics to Hark the Herold Angels sing below and the link to a stripped-down version by sovereign Grace to enjoy the wonder of the birth of Jesus.

Hark the herald angels sing

Glory to the new-born King

Peace on earth and mercy mild

God and sinners reconciled

Joyful, all ye nations rise

Join the triumph of the skies

With angelic host proclaim

Christ is born in Bethlehem

Hark the herald angels sing

Glory to the new-born King

Christ by highest Heaven adored

Christ the everlasting Lord

Late in time behold Him come

Offspring of a virgin's womb

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see

Hail the incarnate deity

Pleased as man with man to dwell

Jesus our Emmanuel

Hark the herald angels sing

Glory to the new-born King

Hail the Heaven born Prince of peace

Hail the son of righteousness

Light and life to all He brings

Ris'n with healing in His wings

Mild He lays His glory by

Born that man no more may die

Born to raise the sons of earth

Born to give them second birth

Hark the herald angels sing

Glory to the new-born King.

2 Corinthians 8 v9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty you might become rich.

Enjoy your Christmas



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