Christmas – it’s all about love actually

As Natalie once memorably said in that famous 2003 film “If you can’t say it at Christmas, when can you, eh?”  Well, she might have been referring to her love for the Prime Minister but surely there is a much greater truth that needs to be shared all year round, but is especially appropriate to dwell on at this particular time of year.

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You see, love did not magically appear out of some primordial soup.  Love is not some evolutionary trick to aid our survival.  Love is summed-up in the Good News: our heavenly Father, who created each one of us and placed us on this planet, did not want to see us destroys ourselves in orgies of violence, debauchery and reckless over-consumption.  No, He saw the mess that we made of the freedom He gifted us and knew the only solution was to send His precious Son.

Jesus Christ left the glorious riches of heaven, where He was worshipped and adored by countless angels.  He willingly chose to enter the darkness of a virgin’s womb, the divine becoming human and being born into the grotty squalor of stable.  You could not make this up.  Our sin problem was so serious but God’s rescue plan was even more audacious – the only way our world could be saved.  Yet the price He paid was everything, a lifetime of sacrifice, humility and toil culminating in the cross.

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That is the real love at the heart of Christmas, which we must never lose sight of and must always be ready to share.

 

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Breaking the Brexit-jam

Whilst many are quick to mock those who offer only “thoughts and prayers” when another tragedy unfolds, I believe they deride what they do not understand and dismiss the one weapon that has won countless seemingly impossible battles.

The apostle Paul urges us to offer-up “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving” for “all people” with his first specific example being “those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

As we survey the seething mess that is Brexit and Westminster at the moment, all I can offer is prayer: may the LORD God Almighty guide our politicians to a way forward that is just, beneficial for everyone and promotes peace across our nation.  May our MPs be given grace and wisdom to work together, putting aside petty rivalries and sacrificing egos for the sake of our society.  May Westminster serve as an example of how democracy and compromise can break an impasse.  May Britain be able to move forward together and focus on fixing the numerous problems that blight communities.  O Lord Jesus please have mercy on the United Kingdom, rescuing us from crisis and leading us to a place of stability and positive relationships with our neighbours.

I was encouraged to read recently of Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s words to the American public on D-Day, the invasion of continental Europe to overthrow Nazi tyranny: “because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.”  

Many people today look back at the heroism of our ancestors, wondering how their towering achievements were made possible.  Surely, the answer must be their faith in the One and Only LORD God Almighty and their earnest prayers for His blessing.

Of course, Brexit is very different from D-Day but I’m struck by that call to prayer from the leader of a great country, just as I was to hear of the Bishops of the Church of England releasing this statement: “In the light of this week’s turbulent events, the bishops of the Church of England pray for national unity – and courage, integrity and clarity for our politicians…”  Amen.

Lord Jesus, please help our political representatives to agree the best possible way forward, so we can live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  I thank you that you are able to do “immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine” (Ephesian 3:20).  I trust that you will deliver us.