• on 1st January 2018

A Joyful Christmas and Peaceful New Year

This week I visited a member of one of our congregations a home and asked her what he plans were for Christmas day. Was she going to her family or were they coming to her? ‘No’ she replied. ‘So you’ll be on your own?’ I asked. To which she answered ‘ no’ again. ‘I won’t be alone, Jesus will be with me.’

Christmas Day and the whole festive season can be a difficult time for many. So much baggage, so many expectations placed on one day. we are sold the image of togetherness, fun, festivity, harmony and belonging. So for those who are sick or missing someone they love, those whose families are in places of conflict, people who ar lonely or far from home, those who fear this might be their last Christmas and those who doubt they have the strength to face another one, Christmas can be an acutely painful time. And for some Christmas may be good, but lurking in the background is dread of the economic aftermath of having spent more than they could afford.

I believe there is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is more on the surface, fragile because it is more vulnerable to things that change day by day. Wheras joy is deeper, based on truths that just are. We can’t always feel happy, but joy is something that can be ours always. For Christians, the foundation of our joy is our belief that God loves us, came to become one of us and wants us to have a relationship with him that will be forever. That is the reason for our joy, even when we are feeling far from happy.

So in wishing you a Joyful Christmas, I do so in the knowledge that it can’t be a happy time for us all, but it is a time when Jesus will be with us because he loves us more than we can imagine.

Revd Liz Newman

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