Christmas message from Julie Guest

St John’s Anglican Church

For many people Christmas is not the happiest time of the year. It is hard to avoid being influenced by the increasingly hyped-up expectations that stockings will be full, the table will groan with bounty and everyone will have a great time.

We know those are unrealistic expectations, but we still feel cheated when our stocking are empty, the meal is no frills and the kids are sad because the “ad” Christmas is not true for them. For others there are memories of happy Christmases that can never be repeated because a precious family member has died. Now Christmas is poignant, painful and overwhelming.

My Mum died a week ago. Our Christmas will never be the same. Mum was the Christmas cake and mince-pie expert, not to mention the buyer of thoughtful gifts squirreled away over the preceding weeks. But for Mum, the primary purpose of Christmas was to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

We who loved her had the pleasure of witnessing faith worked out in her life. The centre of Christmas was gathering to celebrate Jesus’ birth with fellow worshippers – to sing, pray and give thanks for the love of God in our lives. Faith was and will be our rock as we grieve. God knew the pain of losing his own Son to the cross, but at Christmas we quietly celebrate with Christians everywhere the birth of the bringer of peace, hope, joy and love. May you find hope in your pain this Christmas.

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