25 December 2015
Christmas Day
God’s great gift to us
with Canon David Stranack

Any presents yet?
Can you remember what you were given last year?
I’ve had over 70 Christmases but I can’t remember what I was given but I do remember that they were but they were always given with love.
Two things about presents one you can see / touch / hear
The other you can’t see or touch but you know it is given with the present.
And that is LOVE
So I know that I was given presents every year because I know I was loved.

I have some decorated Christmas parcels and every wrapping tells a story
Label says ‘With Love from God’
A bright wrapper expresses the fun of Christmas – many never get any
further than that
Newspaper highlights some problems of the world are so overwhelming – lack of respect for others, injustice and dishonesty.
But Jesus came to show what are the right ways to live in community
Brown paper  is God’s answer – to be found not in wealth and splendour but in a humble stable

I have some other materials here as well.
Cotton wool reminds us  the first to be invited were the shepherds
Silver paper –Jesus is important not just for his fellow Jews but for all.
The world ( in the shape of a star)  – non Jewish wise men led by shining star to worship the saviour.
Cloth round  a candle  -Jesus is God’s gift to the world – the light of the world
God’s saving work began at Christmas and so the great purpose of Christmas is Love.
Christmas is about joy, about giving and sharing, about laughter, about reuniting with family and friends. It is about tinsel and brightly decorated gifts – yes.
But most of all Christmas is about love. God’s love for us and our love shared with others.
Today on Christmas day we give and receive presents. Those gifts are to be signs of love and a reminder of God’s loving gift to us all – Jesus himself.
When we do find Jesus we will discover his incredible standard of ‘love’ – self-giving love, the love that forgives – that reconciles – that wants what is best not just for friends but even for those who are hard to love. It is only his kind of love that can heal the world’s pain, its cruelty, its injustice, its corruption.
And this love, the Jesus kind of love, is his gift to us and is best when we give it away.