Who, I wonder, is hoping for a few presents this year? You do know he’s making a list… and checking it twice – Santa, it appears is signed up to the snooper’s charter!
But the best Christmas present I ever received was the model aeroplane my Dad made for me, out of balsa wood and tissue paper when I was about 7. I loved it, not least because it expressed the profound love that my Dad had for me: I think the best presents are the ones that come with love.
Despite the glossy adverts that come from our biggest retailers which suggest that it’s the gift itself which is the most important thing: it isn’t: really it is the thought that counts – the care and consideration which goes into just the right thing.
This year, the Amazon Ad with a Vicar and an Imam exchanging gifts has trumped all the others.
The best adverts tell stories and this one tells the story of friendship across faiths, of problems shared, of mutual respect and understanding. It’s a story of a shared humanity which underpins our glorious diversity, that flows on despite all the discord and conflicts which have made this year so difficult for so many.
Presents which express love, change lives. For me, they remind me of the greatest present of all: born on Christmas Day.
And God still reaches out to us across the centuries in this Christ-child. A gift which expresses God’s love of us poured out in human form: peace and unity in a small bundle.
So, why not welcome him this season, and be transformed this Christmas; as you express your love in gifts given and gifts received and gifts left by Santa Claus this year, may you see the gift given to all of us, wrapped in human flesh: Jesus Christ – God stepped into this earth for you, and for me, and for the whole world.
Merry Christmas everyone, and prayers for a blessed 2017, and may I give to you now, God’s blessing:
May the eagerness of the shepherds,
the joy of the angels,
the perseverance of the wise men,
the obedience of Mary and Joseph,
and the peace of the Christ child
be yours this Christmas.
And the blessing of God Almighty,
+Father, Son & Holy Spirit
be poured out upon you and those whom you love
this night, this Christmastide and Always.