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Spiritual Matters by Rev Chris Sparks

Love came down at Christmas


Yes, Christmas will be different this year! I’m sure we’re all aware of this and already building these changes into our planning for the Day and the season.
But sometimes we can’t be sure that our carefully crafted plans will reach fruition. Right now, a new outbreak of the Covid virus in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney has injected even more uncertainty into Christmas plans for folk living in that area. This is both frustrating and heart-breaking. We’re so used to being able to steam ahead with Christmas and holiday planning as we look forward to a well-earned break at the end of the year.
Someone once said that there are only two certainties in life: Death and taxes. But to my mind, I’d add a third: A loving Heavenly Father – who created us and stands with us through thick and thin.
But unfortunately, even though Christmas is really about the celebration of our Saviour Jesus’ birth in far-off Bethlehem around two thousand years ago, many seem content to overlook this fact of history and replace the real Jesus with a mythical figure in the guise of one, Santa Claus.
So Christmas carols based on historical, life-changing reality now jostle with shallow, meaningless ditties about make-believe beings. And while we can take these latter things with the proverbial ‘grain of salt’, it’s important to be reminded of the incredible message of eternal salvation epitomized in the incarnation event.
I was rather taken with an unusual spin on this subject that flashed through my in-box recently – so much so that I wanted to share it through this column.
The narrative is voiced by Santa at the cradle of the newly-born Christ-child, in which he’s apologizing for the way things have become messed up and out-of-whack:

My dear precious Jesus” he begins. “I did not mean to take your place. I only bring toys and things, but you bring love and grace.

People give me lists of wishes and hope that they come true; but you hear the prayers of the heart and promise your will to do.
Children try to be good and not to cry when I’m coming to town; but you love them unconditionally – and that love will abound.

I leave only a bag of toys and temporary joy for a season; but you leave a heart of love, full of purpose and reason.
 I have a lot of believers and what one might call fame; but I never healed the blind or tried to help the lame.

 I have rosy cheeks and a voice full of laughter; but no nail-scarred hands – or a promise of the hereafter.

 You may find several of me in town or at a mall; but there is only one omnipotent you to answer a sinner’s call.
And so, my dear precious Jesus, I kneel here to pray; to worship and adore you on this, your holy birthday.” 

In the Name of the Christ of Christmas, it’s on my heart to sincerely thank all those loyal readers who have encouraged me to keep writing these columns for the past eleven years. May your Christmas bring heaps of joy and piles of blessings – and may the year ahead bring affirmation and fulfillment as you grow your relationship with the one true God – and His son, Jesus Christ.