Perhaps you’ve been tempted to by-pass Christmas this year due to mounting difficulties? I hope not, let’s let some Christmas light & hope get through our curtains! What is Christmas ‘all about’? Family, pressies, cards, parties, nativity plays, fine food, Santa, trees, tinsel, lights, movies, TV specials, Binge-Boxsets, World Cup (btw, well done Lionel Messi & Argentina, Mbappe & France commiserations!), hibernation???

As Fr Wilvis & Rev Nelvis, Willie and I have been up to our usual tricks of trying to draw people into the real reason for the season, as we see it, Jesus. But it is easy to give the impression of us ‘Shoes Brothers’ being flippant about the difficulties people face today. I’ve a dear colleague who asked to be taken off the list for receiving my weekly blogs because of their positivity. He didn’t want to read about Willie and I prancing about pretending to be Elvis. I was pleased he reached out to share his grief with me, indeed he has an awful lot to contend with on so many fronts.

Digging deeper to find the true meaning of Christmas, a clue is in ‘CHRISTmas’. Can you see the name ‘JESUS’ on this card front? If not look again! Sometimes we need to look more closely to recognise Jesus Christ ‘all about’ us. I can see Jesus at work wherever people are caring and looking out for one
another in and beyond family & friends. If you haven’t managed to see JESUS in the front picture, one way is to look more closely at the black in between the lego pieces and JESUS will appear. Similarly, as well as the bright light of Jesus’ Love revealing JESUS, pain, suffering and experiencing evil can open us up to the realisation of how much we need Jesus’ hope and help. As CS Lewis put it, “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Yes, Christmas is ‘all about’ Jesus’ birth 2,000 years ago, but can we notice Jesus’ at work now? Wherever God’s Love is being shared in down-to-earth ways that bless and make a difference in people’s lives, Jesus is there. Look more closely and you’ll see what Jesus is doing, and be able to join in!? Let me wish you, your loved ones and neighbourhood a courageous Christmas and helpful New Year, Neil