Christmas messages from the churches

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You’re either stressed, or you’re not! As Christmas finally arrives, which are you? Last minute presents, demanding children, short of money, short of time…. Or relaxed, everything ready, looking forward to the day.

The first Christmas wasn’t a relaxed affair. A long journey on poor roads, all the inns full, nowhere for a heavily pregnant young girl to have her baby.

And yet, a moment in history that would forever change the world.

The Christmas cracker, for some an indispensible part of the festivities, tells us much about that first Christmas.

Attractive on the outside, it promises good things within. The heart of Christmas promises more than we could dream. We may be disappointed with the quality of our cracker’s contents, but we can never be disappointed with unconditional love, salvation and freedom that the first Christmas promised, and delivered.

The ‘snap’ or bang of a cracker is designed to surprise. The world was expecting a saviour of the world who would come in great power — a helpless baby was an enormous surprise.

The joke or message inside our cracker reminds us of God’s message to us — his word in the Bible and the word made flesh in the incarnation of Christ. The hat, a paper crown, reminds us of the Kingship of Christ — bringing in the Kingdom of God into our world. The gift reminds us of the gifts the wise men brought to the infant Jesus, but more particularly that Christ is the greatest gift ever given to the world. And the cardboard roll keeping everything safe, in place, until the snap explodes, reminds us of Mary’s womb, keeping Christ safe until it was the right time for God to break upon the world.

So perhaps, in the middle of the Christmas festivities, you might hold on to the cracker as the symbol of the promise of the greatest gift, the gift of Jesus bringing love, joy and peace into the world and into your life. A blessed Christmas to you all.

CANON KATHRYN HERROD,

Hucknall.