Revd Jackie

Rev. Jackie Bullen

Christmas Gifts


Many of us probably enjoy receiving a gift to unwrap at Christmas. It could be said that the greatest gift we are given each Christmas is that, at least once at one of the Christmas services, we have the amazing experience of listening to, or even reading, the first few verses of John’s Gospel.

They are as follows ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’ It continues, ‘And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.’

The Word is that tiny baby, Jesus. God made man. Jesus is the light for all people, for everyone. Christmas is a time when all creation paused; when heaven met earth, when a baby was born to a young girl in a poor surrounding. This is why we celebrate Christmas: God coming to earth in glory as a baby. Angels announced the birth to shepherds in the fields and the wise men travelled to see the glory of God in that same child.

So what does this mean to us as we celebrate Christmas? As we’re tied up in the busyness of the preparations and the shopping we can lose sight of the reason for the celebration, of the immense glory, of the light coming into the world. It is so easy to divert our gaze away from the real meaning of Christmas. It may take a little more effort to find Christian themed Christmas cards or buy postage stamps bearing a holy image but they are there if we look for them. Maybe we need to be just that little more determined to keep the reason for Christmas at the front of our minds.

We should all be free to celebrate Christmas in a way that we are comfortable with. We may go and help at a homeless shelter, have a great party with friends and family, spend the time quietly on our own or out with a volunteer group helping those in any kind of need. This may well exclude any thoughts of Jesus and the incredible gift of love that God gave us of his only Son, that tiny baby in a manger, but I hope and pray that this is not so. There are many opportunities this year to come and celebrate Christmas with your friends and neighbours in church.

When Christmas comes up in conversation people sympathize with me saying it must be a busy time for a priest. I agree that it is a busy time but that is just the way it should be at this time of year. We will start celebrating Christmas here at St Botolph’s with the Advent carol service on Sunday 2nd December at 6pm and continue until the 9.30am service on Christmas Day; then after a short break we will recommence our celebrations waiting for the wise men to journey to visit the new-born king. We will pause to reflect on the Word made flesh, creation and the love that that tiny baby represents, a love that is here for everyone.

Quite a celebration!