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Opening THE Book 19 with Rev John K-S

JOHN KINCHIN-SMITH1st December 2019

Rev John Kinchin-Smith
Assistant Minister, St Andrew’s Church

This month, the thoughts of most of us will be on Christmas and all of the preparations involved. The world all too often forgets that Christmas is actually a festival that celebrates the birth of Jesus. It’s his birthday! Indeed, so important was this event considered in the Western world that we date our calendar from Jesus’ birth
But what does the Bible say about Christmas, because it’s from the Bible that our information comes? And why was the birth of Jesus considered to be so important? Again, the Bible gives the answer
When the first followers of Jesus began to ask “Who was this man born of Mary, who taught and healed in Galilee, was crucified and rose on Easter Day?” they came to the conclusion that in some extraordinary, wonderful way it was God himself.  In Jesus, God had become human, had shared our suffering, paid for our sins, and died our death.  Here was the culmination of God’s rescue plan.  As I wrote previously: “If we cannot do things right however hard we try, if we continue to have bad thoughts and do bad things and hurt ourselves and other people – then what hope for the world? Must we continue to fight wars, destroy our beautiful planet and suffer from all the pain and injustices of the world? That’s the point!  Only God could do what we couldn’t do for ourselves”
For those first Christians, all those stories about Jesus’ birth (in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke) and all those hundreds-of-years-old prophecies began to make sense.  Suddenly they understood why Jesus was born in poverty (in a stable), his birth was greeted by angels, outcast shepherds and strange foreigners; and realized that the prophecy given hundreds of years before to Isaiah (in chapter 7) had come to pass: “The virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him ‘Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’)”.  They also understood why King Herod had tried to destroy Jesus and why he and his parents became refugees. As John wrote in the beginning of his Gospel: “God became a man and lived among us. Although the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to his own people and they did not receive him”. Sadly the same is true today


as published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine


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