The WEEKEND before last I baptised my great nephew in the town of Rhyl in North Wales, a joyous occasion which brought together the extended family from all corners of England, Wales and Scotland and which afforded the opportunity to catch up on family news and wonder at how the younger members were growing and increasing in number!
The journey home, travelling up the M6, was exhausting and hectic, endless cars and lorries seemingly going at full speed in both directions, intent on getting to their destination as soon as possible.
Here we are now in the second week of Advent and in a similar fashion we seem to be heading full tilt towards Christmas. November passed by in a blur, much faster than I can recall in previous years. And in the shops and on the TV advertising for Christmas has been in full swing for ages.
Recently in one of those free newspapers that one finds on the train from time to time, I read that each family in Scotland would spend an average of around £650 on Christmas this year and that the number of families falling into debt because of their Christmas spending would reach record levels! Sadly once the celebrations and the fleeting moment of happiness are over, Christmas for those families becomes a headlong slide into anxiety and despair.
Yet Christmas really is a time of great celebration and continuing happiness when we consider the coming of Jesus Christ into the world, an event of unparalleled immensity in the history of creation. In Christian communities and families around the world Christmas is a birthday party! We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, sent into the world by God to bring hope and salvation to all generations, and through baptism that hope of salvation becomes a reality.
Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas.
Rev. John Wire