Robert's Ruminations

The thoughts of Revd. Robert, Minister for Emmanuel, Ilfracombe

Christmas Thoughts for 2016

I just can’t comprehend, sitting here at my desk, that I am writing a piece for yet another year’s newsletter! Where does time go to? You seem to blink and another day has flown by; days soon turn into weeks and before you know it, the year has come full circle!!

But what is time? Do we work in our time or God’s time?

As we approach Christmas again this year, to some it seems to be a time when they feel like saying, ‘oh no, here we go again, why does it come around so quickly?’ Or maybe some say ‘yet another time to spend money we don’t have on things no one needs, for people we don’t really like!’

How different this is from the very first Christmas that was celebrated in Bethlehem. I am sure that for God, the gift he chose to give to the world wasn’t given without much forethought. He had spent so long trying to ensure that the Jewish nation could have that special relationship with Him that He had hoped for when He had made them His chosen people. But it wasn’t to be and what happened on that first Christmas was something that can only be described as truly earth shattering. No wonder there were ‘choirs of angels’ singing from the heavens. God didn’t have the luxury of going down to the local superstore to browse the aisles to see what gift to give. He didn’t have the joy of internet shopping to take all the hassle out of the Christmas present buying blues. He had to make a choice that was going to cost Him far more than we could ever come to realise. His gift was to be His son, Jesus – a gift that the world was given freely and given with love.

You know how, sometimes, children would quite often prefer to play with the wrapping rather than the gift inside, well when Jesus came into the world things became very different. It wasn’t a ‘here today gone tomorrow’ sort of gift, but one that was to last forever. The shepherds didn’t just drop by to say ‘hello’ and buzz off back to the fields – they left rejoicing with a choir of angels as their backing group – off to tell the world of what they had experienced. The Wise Men didn’t travel hundreds of miles to give their precious gifts to some fly-by-night charlatan. They knew from their studies that in that stable, something wonderful, life-changing, world-changing and, indeed, history-making, had taken place. They saw the Christ-child and left knowing that they had been part of something very special.


Do we feel the same at Christmas? Do we feel that we have been part of reliving something special? Or do we, perhaps, feel that it’s just another same old Christmas with all the trimmings; something to put away again until next year?

I hope not. Because Christmas is special and as Christian folk we should rejoice again that we celebrate the birth of the one we have chosen to follow – the one to whom we have given our very hearts and souls. We must acknowledge this Christmastime more than ever, that we have a Saviour who came into the world to save us – not wrapped up in fancy paper and tied up with a bow – but one that went on to allow himself to be nailed to a cross, just as His Father, God, had determined, so that our sins can be forgiven.

Now that’s what I call a Christmas present and only one that can truly be given to us by a generous and loving God who has our best interests at heart.

So please, celebrate Christmas in all its fullness, but find a time to truly remember the real meaning of that day and put at its heart, the Christchild – God’s present to you and to me, a gift to the whole world for all time, past, present and future.

And so,may God bless you all this Christmastime.


Choosing to love


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Thursday, 23 May 2019

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