Picture the scene… a crazy busy evening of 4 carol services in a row… the first one finishes and the guy who’d led it came into the kitchen apologising for not sending the warning text during the last carol, and forgetting to mention a couple of notices or an event coming up soon. Minor panic as mince pies were thrown (not literally) onto tables and mulled wine poured out before the masses of people head into the hall… in the midst of this, and trying to prompt the next person leading not to forget anything someone just said ‘wait, did someone mention Jesus?’
In the busyness of getting everything ready, and wanting to have a great smooth running evening, it’s easy to lose sight of what we’re really trying to remember at Christmas.* And I guess this should be the prompt for us all over Christmas time… do we mention Jesus?
‘She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ Matthew 1.21
We do all love a good bit of tradition over Christmas don’t we?! Maybe some of us are slower to admit it, but really we all quite like the excitement of Christmas lights being turned on, mince pies arriving in shops, various Christmas adverts appearing on TV or a nice serving of sprouts with your dinner. And actually, I think we’d be a bit gutted if we lost any of those traditions… it wouldn’t quite feel like Christmas, right?!
But there, in the verse from Matthew, we see the excitement, the reason, the original ‘tradition’ of Christmas. Jesus. And somehow he sometimes gets lost, forgotten or pushed away from centre stage over Christmas. The presents, the parties, the preparations for family get-togethers seem to just take over. These things are great, and Christmas should be a time for real celebration because God himself came to earth as a baby, as Jesus, to save his people from their sins… and that is definitely something worth celebrating.
So as we finish our term at school, or head home from uni or spend our last couple of weeks in the office, let’s enjoy celebrating Christmas and all the excitement that surrounds the wonderful truth the God came to earth. And as we do that, let’s mention Jesus.
*Just saying, I don’t think these guys had lost sight of what Christmas was all about; in fact I think SUCU did a fab job at making Jesus known to the students of Southampton this Christmas.