Do you remember there was a total eclipse of the sun a few years ago? You might not, because when the day came it was pretty cloudy and in many parts of the country it was drizzling.

I recall the one before that we were travelling down to Cornwall and we stopped at Trowell at the right time; glad we were further south where you were meant to get a better view. Some people had made special “cameras” to view it without damaging eyes; some people travelled south just to view the eclipse, it was like a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Of course it would be shown from professional observatories on telly, but lots of people wanted to see it for themselves.

It was the same centuries ago for shepherds out in the fields near Jerusalem. They had heard the awesome news that a special baby had been born, the one predicted, the one their nation had been waiting for, for so long and they wanted to see him for themselves. It wasn’t enough just to hear the news from others, even if they were angels, this called for a personal response, a first-hand experience.

The same is equally true for us today. If we would truly celebrate Christmas, and fully respond to the good news of Christ, it is not enough to merely hear about Him from others. Faith cannot be learned, any more than it can be inherited. The message of Christmas is that rather than just knowing about God we can know Him personally, by getting to know Christ.

Instead of just knowing about Christ, we can accept the gift of his love and have a relationship with Him. It is a relationship we need to keep on growing in faith; in this way we can go on getting to know Him, responding to Him through all of the joys, and the sorrows in our life.

Have we done that?

Do we still do that?

Will we still do that over Christmas?

The world changing event of Christ coming among us remains as real today as ever. Don’t take my word for it – find out for yourself.

May you have a Christ-filled Christmas full of peace, hope and love, and every blessing for a joy-full New Year!

Reverend Ann x