CHRISTIAN COMMENT Start the new year with good news

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BY the time you read this, Christmas will be fading and the New Year kicking in after a time when life seemed – just for a while – to be different. Or maybe not.

The thing I find with this season, year after year, is that you spend ages building up to ‘the day’ – buying stuff, planning events, contacting those people you only think of when Christmas cards need sending.

Then a brief flurry of visits and meals and presents, maybe a visit to church – and it’s gone.

And then, of course, there are those who won’t even have the above – those 11 per cent of all over 65s who it is estimated will spend this Christmas entirely on their own.

Or those who cannot afford to buy extra food nor any presents.

And those who still buy and get crippled by debt and the guilt of having given in to the pressure to consume.

In fact, whether we are amongst the haves or the have-nots, Christmas can be a big let-down.

Even those of us who get to church can feel “Well, that was lovely but now we’re back to the same old same-old”. It may be that this Christmas was a time when you made a real effort to go to church.

If so, I do hope that you were blessed by what you found there.

But how much more if what you found there lasted all year? Lasted for ever? Here’s a poem posted on the web just before Christmas week by someone called Brian Wakeman.

I think he was prompted by all those who want to get rid of Christmas and all it points to, who feel that it’s all a con and a delusion and we’d be better not thinking anything can change: A Secularist Xmas The people who walk In darkness, who talk Of “Enlightenment”, With anti-Christian sentiment, Would if they were able Crucify the Christ in the cradle. No angels, no heavenly choir; No magi in their rich attire; No virgin: a myth, merely; No peace on Earth, clearly. No sin, so no messiah to save; No hope beyond the grave. Thank God for the incarnation For the child who brings salvation This New Year think again of the story of the birth of Jesus.

The angel who appeared to the shepherds said that the message was “good news for everyone”.

Ask God to show you his “salvation”.

Just say, “God, what does this gift of a baby mean to me in my situation?”

Ask him how your life can be changed for ever.