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Saturday, 24 December 2016

Love came down at Christmas.

Human beings have many different ways of indicating their love for one another and, every now and then, someone comes up with a really original idea. I recall reading, many years ago, a newspaper report that told of a young lady who, on her birthday anniversary, received the largest parcel she had ever seen. The delivery men carried it, very carefully, into the house and, with mounting excitement, she began to open it. To her utter amazement - and great delight - the parcel suddenly burst open, and out jumped her boyfriend! He had decided that the best possible gift he could give her, in order to express his love for her, was himself.

For so many, the Christmas season has been wrapped up with ever-increasing commercialisation; with food, and fun, and festivities. However, if we remove the wrapping, we discover that is is, basically, Almighty God - the Creator and Sustainer of all that is - giving Himself in order to show His love for mankind. The angel's message to Joseph was that the Child to Whom Mary would give birth, would be called "Immanuel" - "God with us" (Mt.1:23); while my personal favourite "Christmas text" is found, not in the familiar birth narratives, but in that best-known of New Covenant verses, Jn.3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."  And that "eternal life, by the way, is not some "pie in the sky when you die", but something you receive here and now!

"God is Love", John assures us in one of his letters (I Jn.4:16) and, in the Incarnation, He expressed Himself in Jesus, "His indescribable Gift" (II Cor.9:15). Christmas is the beginning of a love story that goes on to Resurrection Day, when the Babe in the manger becomes the Christ on the Cross, suffering and dying for our salvation - and rising from the dead, victorious over death, and hell, and the grave!

Most of those who read this blog will receive a number of gifts tomorrow, each of them an indication of the love of the giver. Be sure that, if you have never received it before, you accept the greatest Gift of all - Jesus, and the salvation He offers.

... and a Christmas thought: Wise men sought Jesus; they still do!

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