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Chaplain's Chat 29th November 2017

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost upon us again. The shops are already selling Christmas goods and houses are being decorated.  For many, the preparations for Christmas will soon be in full swing. There will be the endless list of Christmas presents to buy and cards to be sent out. A lot of money will be spent – indeed the shops are counting on us spending this money. For them, Christmas spending will replenish some of the income that has been adversely affected by the financial slowdown. Then, on Christmas day, family and friends will get together to celebrate.  I am aware that for a significant percentage of people, Christmas is nothing more than this. Many people, either through a lack of belief or apathy, miss the significance of the main gift of Christmas – the gift by a loving God of his Son to this world in the birth of Jesus.

Those of us who attend church will hear again the Christmas story from the Gospels as well as the predications and prophecies of the event from the Old Testament. When it comes to the Gospels, I have always found the Gospel of John to be refreshing. This is because it is quite different from Matthew, Mark and Luke. In simple terms, these three Gospels are descriptive, giving us detailed accounts of the things that Jesus did. They report many of the same events. By contrast, John comes at the story of Jesus from a quite different angle. Much of John is unique. He does not report many of the events that the other Gospels do but focuses on the identity of Jesus. The Christmas story is a case in point. The Gospel of John does not contain the story of Jesus’ birth. Instead, John begins his Gospel by pointing to who Jesus is:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5 NRSV)

There are many sermons contained in this short extract. John is highlighting the fact the Jesus is God, the Creator, and the one who brings light and life to the world.  Towards the end of his Gospel, John highlights his message in no uncertain terms:
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31 NRSV)

This is John’s way of pointing us past the birth of the baby Jesus into the realms of eternity. He invites us, as does Jesus, to grasp the opportunity of eternal life with both hands. As we travel through the season of Advent, may I encourage you to reflect on the wonderful message of Christmas from the perspective of John’s Gospel.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you for your generosity in responding to the Peter Moyes Christmas Appeal. We have been inundated with your donations. We will now sort these into hampers and deliver them with your good wishes.

I wish everyone in the Peter Moyes family a wonderful, blessed and joyous Christmas!

God bless!
Reverend Dave