19 December 2005

Christmas Message from the President of the Methodist Conference

The President of the British Methodist Conference, The Revd Tom Stuckey, has this message for Christmas 2005:

'At Christmas, some of us will be bellowing out the hymn 'As with gladness men of old, did the guiding star behold.' Maybe before Christmas we should be singing Janet Lees' parody:-

As with madness we prepare,
For this festive time of year,
As we rush and count the days,
Advent passes in a haze,
So may our feet take us to
Places where we will meet you.

For years consumerism has threatened Christmas. Yet I detect a growing disquiet with the secular agenda which rides on the back of the Christmas donkey, shoving off the Virgin Mary who gets trampled to death in the Christmas razamatazz:-

As with madness we keep on
Trying to ignore your Son,
Timely God now takes a risk,
Bawling babe now shakes a fist,
So may each of us now see
Christ has come to set us free.

Dare we free ourselves? Some of us are starting to! Instead of buying presents for family members, we are sending each other sheep and goats with the animals going, I should add, to help farmers in Africa. Some churches are sending hospital wards and equipping surgeries.

At home forget the Santas and flashing lights and build a crib scene. Through the cards you make or buy and the letters you send, become much bolder in affirming the Christian message. Tell people what God has personally done for you personally. We can encourage trips to see the new Chronicles of Narnia film and use it as a means of evangelism.

Now is the time to talk of God. We have outlets in the community that superstores would give their back teeth for. Make your church bright with the light of Christ. Reduce the spending; increase the sharing; spurn the madness and embrace the gladness. Christ has come to set us free.'

Click here to listen to this message: www.methodist.org.uk/ index.cfm?fuseaction=news.webradio

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