Know you've been loved this Christmas
It's an old story and a familiar one too. And maybe sometimes it just becomes a bit too familiar.
But actually this is the story of humanity. A story that claims to connect with our very purpose and reason for being.
We often think of God as a lonely old chap, far away and out of touch, a bit like the man on the moon in the John Lewis ad.
But God is not lonely or distant. He’s full of joy and love.
And God doesn't just look down the other end of a telescope, aloof and alone.
That first Christmas God’s love overflowed. He gave us the ultimate present, himself. The Father gave us his eternal Son.
Sure, it’s not a telescope or a Mulberry bag. But just like gifts can often say something about the giver, sometimes they can also reveal something about those to whom they’re being given.
Like when your other half gets you yet another set of deodorant, sometimes we have to ask, "what are you trying to say?"
And perhaps God’s son wouldn’t be at the top of our Christmas lists. But sometimes what we want isn’t what we need.
So why a baby, God? Well, the claim of this gift is that, though it’s easy to cover it up with tinsel and fairy lights, it’s actually us who are lost and lonely.
Estranged from our Maker yet made to live for so much more.
And in our helplessness, God came to us as this child. Emmanuel, they called him; 'God with us'.
The Father gave us the baby from the stars, to reconnect earth and heaven.
So, did you know you've been loved this Christmas? And if that’s true then it means the guessing games about God are over.
‘Are you there?'
‘Do you love me?'
‘How can I know?'
Whatever our own questions may be, this baby’s arrival calls for us to give him another look this Christmas.
God has come down to our world, with all of its muck and messiness, to make us his friends.
Of course the story doesn’t end with that manger. That baby grew up.
The crib led on to the cross, and the man Jesus gave his life in place of ours.
All so that we might be drawn into his love forever.
So has it dawned on you that the baby from the stars means you've been loved this Christmas?
And even when January is upon us, however cold and empty it might be, this is a gift that doesn't fade or fizzle out.
Perhaps you've never seen the baby in the manger in this light before?
A gift for you and me - but one that blows our horizons and lifts our heads.
A gift too significant to let ourselves be put off by 'religion' or past experiences.
A gift too precious to let ourselves be distracted by busyness and 'Christmas spirit'.
Of course, if there’s even a chance that this is true, then the baby deserves a closer look.
But just like with any gift, the question is always what will we do with it?
Will the baby stay under the tree, or will you unwrap the greatest gift we'll ever know.
You've been loved this Christmas.