When you think of Christmas, what first comes to mind? Maybe memories of family coming together, maybe it’s being at church or a carol service, maybe it’s putting up the tree or watching Christmas films. Maybe for you, when you think of Christmas it brings about sad memories, someone you’re going to miss this year, yet another financial burden or someone burning the turkey. This year there are going to be things missing from our normal Christmas traditions. The nativity might have to be live steamed, ensuring Mary and Joseph stay two meters apart and it’s likely the inn keeper won’t have so many guests. Whatever changes we need to make to keep one another safe, our everlasting hope in Jesus remains. Our hope isn’t cancelled. Christmas is still coming, but will your heart be there? The innkeeper was so busy that he missed the miracle taking place just next door. It can be so easy to let Christmas pass by without recognising it’s gift and significance.

The next generation is now being considered as the unchurched generation. So with that, comes children growing up thinking Christmas is all about toys and pretty lights on the tree. They may believe it’s not about him, because who even is He to them? “No, this Christmas, it’s all about me”. Sadly this is the lie the world is coming to believe. And if you disagree, try heading to the shops on Black Friday to get thrown in a sea of greed, craving the next best deal that’s going to replace Jesus this year. The birth of a king pushed to the side for even more things.

Gathering around the table for Christmas dinner with some of the people I love most is one of my favourite times of the year, and that’s not wrong, but, Christmas is pointless unless we examine our lives and think about why we’re celebrating. If we’re not connected to the true reason of Christmas, then it may as well just be an extra day off.

Christmas was the start of God’s Devine rescue mission for your soul. That’s the meaning of Christmas, that’s the why, that’s the reason we have an opportunity to choose to say yes to His commission. Christmas reminds us of how much our freedom costs, and it costs allot, more than the Christmas turkey or the new PS5. Jesus died to save you, not so you could treat Christmas as another reason for greed, but so you could use it as another opportunity to share the good news and reach the lost, inviting others to unwrap the gift of Jesus.

This year has forced us to work out what it is that matters to us most, to challenge us about things we maybe shouldn’t miss as much as we do, and to show us what we feel incomplete without. This Christmas is another opportunity to do that. Where plans and usual Christmas traditions might be turned on their head this year, nothing about this year can change the story of Jesus and nothing about this year changes the picture of the nativity scene. While this year has been so challenging, it doesn’t change the hope of Christ. Christmas isn’t cancelled, it just looks a little different this year.

Bethan Hawksworth – KICK Sports Coach & Mentor