What's it all about!What's it all about ?
Add Alfie's name and you have an iconic song from the 60s. But I'd like to ask you the question about Christmas.
Bright lights (already in the cities and in some local gardens), presents, food , drink - possibly too much of both - parties, a short holiday. Is that all it's about ? A mid winter break to cheer up the long dark days.
Or do we add to the above a doll in a cradle, young children in school dressed up as shepherds with the obligatory tea towels round their heads, songs that most people know and hear for weeks on end in the supermarkets, and a warm glow, with the aagh! factor as we watch the children in their carol concerts. We could add a visit to church - a nice start to Christmas, as they say.
What is it all about ?
It's about God - God who loves and cares for his world, for his creation. About God who sees the awful mess we have created in that world, and in our individual lives. The Bible calls that mess "sin" - which is not a fashionable concept. About God who prepared a way to deliver us from the power and the consequences of that sin.
We need forgiveness. We need a new start. We need to find a better way of living our personal and our community lives. And that way we see in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. "You are to name him Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins."
"God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself." Bringing us back from the darkness, the loneliness, the failure, into a warm, loving and life-transforming relationship with Him, bringing us home.
Because - and this is what it's all about - in the infant in the manger, we see God. A God who is vulnerable, a God who suffers, who shares our humanity, who knows what it is to be human and to live on this beautiful, abundant, enchanting planet - to live on this war-torn, ravaged, tormented planet
God who, loving us, longs for our love in return.
What can I give him, poor as I am?
if I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb;
if I were a wise man I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him - give my heart.