It’s that time of year again. Dark nights, shimmering lights. Images of Rudolph and Santa and snowmen or shepherds and angels and stables. ‘The Christmas Season’ is, apparently, upon us.
At St George’s we too, like most of the world around us, have kicked off Christmas early. Our Contemporary Carols services take place in early December while students are still in term-time. Last weekend we welcomed well over a thousand people to hear the message of King Jesus coming to Earth, complete with a soundtrack so diverse that it spanned from Charles Wesley’s ‘Hark The Herald’ to Taylor Swift’s ‘Bad Blood’.
Our Christmas series this year is entitled Out of The Box. This works on several levels. We need to think out of the box in how we communicate the Jesus message to those we know and love. We want to unpack that message bit by bit as we journey through John 1 in our various services. We seek to explain the fact that Jesus Christ really is the greatest gift. He is The Gift that Restores, The Gift Worth Waiting For, The Gift that Welcomes and Transforms. He’s The Gift That Rescues, Reveals and Remains. Each of these attributes of the greatest gift is a title for one of our services. At the time of writing there’s plenty more to come, with different styles to reach different people, from nativities and crib services to traditional carols and midnight communion. Click here to see the whole plan.
Perhaps it is worth noting, though, that while it’s obviously important to take this opportunity to tell and re-tell the real Christmas story and invite everyone we can, we are actually in Advent. The season of waiting. Waiting typically brings with it a potent mix of painful frustration and expectant anticipation. Mary waiting for a baby. Israel waiting for a Saviour to lead them and free them. We, The Church, waiting for Jesus’ return, when the Kingdom we now see in part will be here forever, in full. We would all do well not to forget this season, and all that it can teach us.
So as we look to Christmas and the greatest gift, as we seek to take His message Out of The Box, may the the season of Advent be a blessing to us all, and may hope for the future enable a joy in the present... A joy that’s ever-present, even while we wait.