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Christmas is that time when old and young are faced with the question, do we believe in Santa Claus? This is an important question, especially when adults are in the company of small children. There is a magic to the season, mainly brought about by the commercial side that sees this as the best time of the year to make a profit. In fact, some small businesses rely on their takings in December to stay solvent! Christmas is important!

I wonder what Christmas means to you this year, and in years ahead what will stick in your mind? We have seen the death and burial of a great human of recent years, Nelson Mandela. There has been another shooting at a school in the USA with death and injury. Syria dominates the daily headlines with images of displaced citizens who need basics like warm clothing and food. These things are attention grabbing, and you may look back in years to come, and associate 2013 with some of these stories. But is that all there is to it?

The clue is in the name. CHRISTmas was, and still is the celebration of the simple birth of a baby in an animal feeding trough, who came from heaven to bridge the gap between God and man. Jesus was not just a ‘good man’ or a prophet as some think, but the embodiment of God in our own human form. He laughed, cried, was tempted, betrayed, hurt, bled, and felt just like us. How good was God’s plan to give us Jesus as a baby to grow up in a small town, as part of a poor family who would know the troubles of life? Some of His own brothers didn’t accept His claims and teachings as He went about doing good. He was not accepted in His own town, or with the church leaders. But knowing this, God still sent Him at Christmas time. On the face of it, it doesn’t seem like a good plan, but we know the end of the story and it didn’t end at Christmas, or when He was tempted, beaten and crucified for doing good. The story continued to His resurrection and ascension back to heaven, His earthly work completed.

So the question remains. Do you believe? Not in Santa, but in the reason for the season being Jesus Christ, who is the whole of CHRISTmas, wrapped up in a cold manger, in a draughty stable, surrounded by poverty, but announced and serenaded by angels? I mean believe it enough to see beyond the commercialised side of the month with its trappings of temporary happiness? If you can do that, you will have a very Happy and Blessed Christmas, with all the joy that the Christchild brings.  

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