From the Minister – November 2019

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

From the Minister – November 2019

Hi everyone!
I know that Advent is still a month away, but now is the perfect time to start
planning for a meaningful celebration of Christmas!
Do you ever get to the 27th of December and go, “Phew, I’m glad that’s over!
What a stress!”
How did ‘Good news of great joy’ become such a stressful season for many
people?
Maybe it’s the busyness of the season. The commercialism, the financial
pressure, the difficult family members you have to visit. For some it’s a
reminder of loss, grief or broken relationships. Some feel very lonely over
Christmas. For many it can be a challenging time.
It’s important to remember that the heart of the Christmas message is for
people living through difficult times.
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which
will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a
Saviour, who is Christ the Lord…” Luke 2:10-11.
In the midst of whatever it is that causes us fear or grief, God has come to
dwell among us in Jesus Christ and ultimately deliver us from these things.
We don’t have to be afraid.
Not only that, this Good news is for all people! It’s no accident that the key
characters in the Christmas story are unlikely people; A poor Jewish couple,
pagan mystics, lower class shepherds, set in an occupied land. It was Good
news for everyone!
This is something worth celebrating! So, how can we simplify the other parts
of the season to make sure this message is allowed to breathe and unfold in
our lives?
Here’s a few tips:
– Plan your time. Plan the meaningful events and traditions that are
important to you and book them in. Do your shopping early. Only
volunteer for one thing. Plan how much time you want to spend
preparing and how much time you want to spend relaxing and
enjoying. Don’t spend all Christmas working in the kitchen!
– Set a budget for the season. Don’t buy presents for everyone nor
excessive things you don’t need. Buy fewer, but more special and
meaningful things.
– You don’t have to go to family events that result in arguing, toxic
conversations and pain. Visit them some other time. Make sure you
have a special celebration free of tension, stress and conflict.
– Find a way to share the love of Christmas with someone who may feel
on the outside; A young needy family, folk who are lonely, people
from distant lands.
Come and have a chat with me sometime if this has struck a chord with you in
any way!
And may you plan ahead well, that this might be a meaningful and powerful
Christmas season!
Grace and peace
Matt