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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

23 December 2015: John Powell, Petersfield Methodist Church

Celebrating Christmas

In our different ways, we are all getting ready for Christmas. We are sending cards and letters, singing carols, thinking about food and drink, and so on. It is a great time for meeting up with family, especially those who we do not see very often. We look forward to feasting together and enjoying one another's company.

But what do we do when there is sadness in the family; when those close to us are worried, or ill, or freshly out of work? And what is there in homes like ours, where a loved one has recently died? Can it be a 'Happy Christmas' for families like ours or should we celebrate in a very low key way or even effectively cancel the whole festival?

Well, it depends what Christmas is really about. If it is just about 'making merry', just about spending more than you should, forget it. You have missed the point. Christmas is really about celebrating the coming of God's Son, Jesus, into the world.

We remember that God so loved mankind, in spite of all their failings, that he chose to come amongst us in human form, showing us his nature and showing us what our lives could become, in his strength. And the coming of Jesus was surrounded with suffering. The family had to become refugees to escape the the anger of Herod. More than that, Jesus was seen as the Lamb of God, as the supreme sacrifice for the setting free of mankind from the power of sin. Jesus was to die an agonising death, in love.

So please, please celebrate Christmas even in the midst of suffering, for Jesus alone is the one who can bring us real peace and comfort.

Happy Christmas.

All are welcome to join in Carols around the town and in The Square this evening - and to any of the PACT church services over Christmas

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