Have you ever looked at a painting and tried to work out what the picture is all about? Sometimes it is very difficult to tell what the artist has painted if we stand too close to the picture because all we see are different coloured blobs of paint. if however we stand back a little the whole picture becomes clearer. Many of us have the same experience when it comes to Christmas. We become so preoccupied with the detail of the many things we get involved in that the true meaning of Christmas is overlooked.
Since September we have been reminded of Christmas as seasonal items have been on sale in the shops. Advertisers have bombarded children with suggestions to put to their parents or Santa. High street shops, off-licences and supermarkets have been taking millions of pounds, Christmas cards have been written by the thousand and If placed on top of each other I suspect might reach the top of Truro Cathedral! With all the activities and preparations we get involved in, the real meaning of Christmas can so easily be overlooked.
It was the same when Jesus was born. Bethlehem was so full of people scrambling for accommodation in the town that Jesus was born in a stable where the farm animals were housed because there was no room for him in the inn. Most of the people in that town were totally unaware that God had come into the world in the form of a baby. Only a few shepherds had any idea about the amazing thing that had happened and were not too busy to stand back and reflect on the things of God. They did not fully understand what the angel of the Lord had told them on the hillside but they were prepared to be obedient and so they hurried down to Bethlehem where they found the new-born babe, the promised Saviour of the world. Those shepherds were never the same again. They praised God and told others the wonderful things they had seen and heard.
Let’s not be too busy this Christmas to take time to stand back and look at the whole picture of Christmas. When we sing the carol ‘In the bleak mid-winter’ we sing the words, “What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb. If I were a wise man I would do my part, Yet what I can I give him – Give my heart’.
When we trust Jesus with our hearts and receive his gift of forgiveness for our sins we become part of the ongoing Christmas story, a story that lasts beyond this life into eternal life.
Why not put Jesus CHRIST back into the centre of your CHRISTmas picture this year?
Rev David Pollard