Christmas Messages

15th Dec 2021

Why Lights, Lollies and Presents?

You can always tell Christmas is coming because things start to look different. As soon as the Christmas lights, the candy canes, and the gifts appear, it becomes evident that something is up. Though we often forget that these things materialise at this time of year to remind us why Christmas is worth celebrating.
For example, take Christmas lights. They are bright and look nice. Because of this, this year at the Anglican church, we have even put some in our trees! Though, why do we put up lights at Christmas time? Far from just being pretty, Christmas lights are supposed to remind us of the bright shining star that guided the wise men to Jesus in Bethlehem.
What about candy canes? They’re sweet and great as a treat, though they invite us to remember why Christmas is worth celebrating. Well, candy canes remind us of God’s amazing grace. The red swirl reminds us of Jesus’ blood, which took the punishment for our sin. The minty white bit reminds us that forgiveness is on offer to everyone. Candy canes are also in the shape of a ‘J’, which is an undeniable reminder of what’s going.
Finally, what about gifts? Who doesn’t love getting presents? We give and receive gifts at Christmas to remind us that Jesus is God’s great gift to us. Just like we love to receive presents, the Christmas story invites us to accept God’s gift of forgiveness, which we do by trusting in Jesus.
All of this means that the lights, lollies and presents that appear during this season are really important because they point us to the reason for Christmas. If you’d like to know more about Jesus, we’d love to see you as we celebrate Christmas at 9 am on Christmas morning at St James’.
Rev. Tim Stevens
St James Anglican Church

’And there were shepherds …’

Ground zero, the rocky hills outside Bethlehem, year dot. ‘And there were shepherds …’ the Bible says, warming their hands on a  fire, yarning.
The price of fat lambs. The wool market. Whether the storm last week meant a good pick at the far end of the valley. And grumbling about the government ordering everyone around. 
Stupid census mandate.
So real. So down-to-earth. So timeless. So ordinary. 
But. A flash of light. An angel. A choir of angels! The momentous News of a Saviour, peace, God’s favour. Grace. A kid born in a shed that will save the world. 
Now that news didn’t come first to the Roman conquerors; nor the religious priests. It didn’t come to the high and mighty, or the rich and good, but to these ordinary blokes, out in the bush, working for a living.
Which is what the incarnation is all about. What Christmas is all about. God becoming a human being. A real, ordinary baby And a ‘silent night?’ No. We all know what babies do for a living. 
And that baby grew to become a working man, a tradesman, a tradie. 
This Christmas, read the story from the Old Book. Matthew and Luke. Attend a church and find out more.
So real. So down-to earth. So timeless. So ordinary. 
Which means our God is not out there watching from a distance.  Bette Midler’s god. But God who cares, God who understands.  God who knows about your world, God who cares. Yes, life, as it is lived. Weddings and funerals, family and work. 
Disappointments. Struggles. ‘Droughts and flooding rains.’
Rev. Andrew Campbell
St Columba’s
Presbyterian Church 

Celebration of thanksgiving

For many people Christmas is a happy time of family, fellowship, food, and gift giving. Most Christians observe this as a time of added celebration and thanksgiving for the greatest gift ever given, the Lord Jesus Christ, “God with us”.
For others, Christmas is just the exact opposite. It can be a reminder of lost loved ones or that they have no close family to celebrate with. Instead of feeling joy, many people feel overwhelming, anxiety and depression. Christmas can potentially be a time of hopelessness and loneliness.
Jesus came in the flesh as a little baby that first Christmas so that He could bear our punishment at the Cross, and then conquer death by rising from the dead. The first man Adam brought death, suffering, and the Curse into the world through his sin, but the last Adam, Jesus Christ, will do away with those things. Someday we can dwell with Him eternally in a place where “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away”.
Loneliness and depression will be done away with forever. What a hope to eagerly look forward to! Jesus’ Incarnation, death, and Resurrection also brings believers into God’s family. This is the true meaning of Christmas.
Those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their Saviour will spend eternity with the entire family of God in His very presence! If you have repented and trusted in Christ, then you will be there too! Surely that is the best reason to smile and have a merry Christmas filled with His hope this year. He gave you this gift because you are so loved!
Pastors Linden
& Kerrie Pollard
The Chapel

God’s greatest gift

Christmas is a time when people get to have holidays from work and get together with friends and family, they share meals and gifts with each other. It is a time of giving, so when you are giving gifts to your loved ones think of the gift God gave humanity, God gave us Jesus, Christmas reminds us that Jesus came to earth as a baby, He lived, and he died for you and me.
So remember the greatest gift God gave us was not put under a tree but put on a tree. Jesus died on a cross outside the city of Jerusalem so you and I could be on the inside of the new Jerusalem, Jesus wore a crown of thorns so you and I could wear a golden crown. Jesus died in our place so you and I can have eternal life with Him in a world with no more pain, suffering and death. This Christmas remember that God so loved you that he gave his one and only Son that you would not perish but have everlasting life. He has given you this gift of eternal life what are you going to do with it?
Pastor Luke Reeves
Guyra Seventh-day Adventist Church