The advertising seems to get earlier each year. Decorations in store windows, countless toy promotions on repeat, and Christmas tunes serenading us in most shops. Yes indeed - Christmas is coming! Thing is though – it really is still a good way off, almost 6 weeks or so at time of writing.

As Christians we know that the Christmas season is such a beautiful and poignant reminder of the birth of Jesus. As a community of believers and churches, what an incredible opportunity we have to come together in love and unity and worship our King and our Saviours birth. How amazing that we also get to share this Good News and advent season with others.

Each year drawing to a close is a time of nostalgia for many of us. We hanker to good times of old, we cling on to memories of loved ones no longer with us, etc. How precious that as we contemplate the brevity of life – we  rest in the assurance and comfort of an eternity yet to come. This is a powerful message that needs to be shared.

Jesus loved to gather people together and share times of friendship and fellowship, either with a small group or a meal with 5000 on a hill. We too need to look for opportunities to share this Good News message. The hope of Christmas.

There is plenty time to plan an event where you are. Carol singing, nativity plays, giving trees, or even just having free hot drinks and mince pies at community events. Ideas and opportunities abound. Just plan something to invite people to - then invite them! Spread the joy, the love, the real reason for the season - Jesus.

Perhaps it’s not just our churches and neighbourhoods we need to think about. What about closer to home and prayerfully consider any broken family relationships. Christmas may be the perfect time to offer an olive branch of forgiveness, kindness, love and reconciliation. Family matters so much to God, and to our wellbeing in life.

So enjoy all the preparations of the coming weeks. Look for every opportunity to bless and be a blessing. Invite Jesus into every event, worship time, gift giving, senior citizen events, and children’s parties. He comes as the true gift giver and brings joy, love, hope, acceptance, blessings, and every good thing under the heavens.

Let’s seize the season wherever you are, and make this a Christmas where people are left in no doubt about the true message and heart of Christmas - Jesus.

D.MacNeil

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