A Storm Lantern not a Candle     

I love Christmastime, which is probably just as well in my profession. The excitement of children of all ages, the gathering together of families, the singing of the old familiar carols and the beautiful Christmas story itself all combine to make it a very special time.     

Yet there are certain dangers in this. Not everyone will feel that way this Christmas and not everyone will be surrounded by love as most of us are. Amidst our joy and fun we should never be forgetful of others who cannot share these feelings           

The very beauty of Christmas can turn it into an interlude between life's realities, an escape for a few days from its harshness and hardness. Escapism, however, never really works. A false, artificial joy does us no good. The real joy of Christmastime should be a deep and lasting joy, one which lasts long after the tree comes down.        

That is why we celebrate at Christmas- not because we want to escape from reality but because it is at this time especially that we are reminded that God came among us, and more than that became one of us, not as some strange supernatural being but as a human infant        

As a struggling child in swaddling clothes, a child who went to school to learn to read , write and count. A child who listened to stories and studied the traditions of his people. A boy who was taught how to hold a plane and a saw by his father and how to pray at his mother's knee.

God wanted to be with us and understandable to us and so His Son was born as a human baby, born as we all are. At Christmas God identifies Himself with us in order that we can identify ourselves with Him. Those of us with families see Jesus born into an ordinary family, with the pride and worry, joy and pain that brings. The oppressed see Jesus born into a nation under foreign occupation born away from home because of a dictator's decree. The homeless see Jesus born in a stable because there was no room in the inn.   

At Christmas love comes down and shows us the heights to which we might rise. It is much more than light relief in a busy life, more that a refreshment for weary spirits. It is an inspiration and a source of strength for all of life . God's love shown to us at Christmas should be an encouragement to us all as we try to reflect that love in our dealings with others          

A wise man once wrote,

"Christmas joy is not just a little candlelight with a Christmas Tree fragrance,

but a storm lantern that does not go out even when it is blown upon from all sides."

That is why we celebrate and praise our Heavenly Father, that He sent His Son to dwell among us, with us and as one of us.    

I hope that you and your loved ones have a Christmas of real joy and that anything you do to help those in any kind of need this Christmastime may be richly blessed.

Brian Ramsay,

Rev. Brian Ramsay, Guthrie Manse. Guthrie, Forfar, DD8 2TP 01241-828243 , revdbrianr@hotmail.com

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