Not many love the Christmas season more than Sue. Our house is adorned with the obligatory Christmas Tree, but also not simply one, but four nativity scenes, as well as assorted reindeer, stars and other decorations. We’ve come into the city to see the lights in Martin Place, and the spectacular projections onto St Mary’s Cathedral. We’ve already attended three Christmas Carol celebrations, and we’ve watched assorted Christmas movies. I’m saving the best Christmas Movie ever – Die Hard – for Christmas Eve. It’s going to be a new family tradition, one I’m sure Sue will ‘love’. What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
This past week or so Sue and I have attended Christmas parties at Frank Vickery Village and the David Morgan Centre – where both the food and company were amazing. We also enjoyed a fabulous (if rather hot) time with stacks of families at the Out of Home Care Christmas Celebration at Penrith, meeting some incredible carers, kids and case workers along the way. I am so grateful for what all the team did to host such an inclusive event.
There will be more ham and turkey this Thursday as we enjoy our time at the Alan Walker Village Christmas lunch, and then at a Christmas party at one of our wonderful Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) homes. When it comes to Christmas food (any food really), my self-control is severely limited, and so a new diet will be in order sometime after the leftover Christmas ham runs out!
Of course, there will be Christmas Eve services, and our very special Wesley Mission Christmas Day Celebrations, with a combined church service at 10am, followed by our Christmas Lunch, kicking off at 12noon in the Wesley Centre. I love the lunch, not just because of the food (which is great), but for the diverse company, comprising people from our congregations, friends invited from the streets, strangers who become friends, staff members and people at a loose end and looking for company on Christmas Day. It’s awesome. It’s an ‘open table’, so if you or someone you know would like to come, you are most welcome. You can find out more here: wesleymission.org.au/get-involved/celebrate-christmas-day-2023/
A week or so ago I also recorded a three-minute Christmas message, which will be picked up by media this week. You can watch it below.
Sue and I will enjoy a quiet Christmas night after a big few weeks. That will all change on December 27, when family (including our granddaughter, Rosie!) begin arriving. We will have a chaotically full house for a few wonderful days as we celebrate Rosie’s baptism (December 30) and our 35th wedding anniversary (December 31). I’m also planning to squeeze in a bit of time in front of the TV watching cricket and falling asleep with a good book. All in all – awesome. What are your plans over Christmas? I would love to hear.
Amidst all the busyness, all the trimmings and trappings, it’s easy to lose touch with the radical heartbeat of the Christmas story. For me, its summarised in one ancient word – ‘Immanuel’, which means ‘God with us.’ The incredible claim that centres the Christmas story is that in Jesus, God willingly embraced the frailty of human form, not only to identify with us, but to rescue us. The name ‘Jesus’ (Yeshua) simply means ‘saviour’. Jesus was born and would later die and rise again to save us from our sins, offering all of us the opportunity of not only a fresh start, but abundant life with and through him.
On Christmas Day and the days that follow, as I unwrap presents I don’t really need (although some new socks would come in handy), I hope I will remember that, by faith, I have already received the greatest gift – life to the full, life with God. All because of Christmas.
May God bless you and those you love this Christmas season – with peace, hope and love.