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'Mail' Newspaper Articles

Focal Point (for publishing—22/12/09)

When Did Christmas Start Anyway?

Christmas day is just three days away when most of us will try to enjoy something that we will try to create if we can. That sounds a bit convoluted but there will be many who will either try to avoid it or try again in vain to have a day that they long for but will not likely have. There is a lot of pain around Christmas for many, and there is an unreal expectation that somehow all the fights of the year will dissolve on the day. Not so, a little drink easily brings the old issues to the fore. Of course most children will still be untainted and will be going to bed in two sleeps time exited and eager to wake again the next morning to surprises. However not all sit in innocence. I was at a breakup last week when a three year old blonde mop topped boy came up to me and said that the guy in the suit was not really Santa, he was uncle Grant, and that he knew what was in the packages that Santa was giving out because he helped his mum make up the bags. For months now I have heard people sighing and complaining that Christmas seemed to start as early as August this year. I wonder if that says something about their age – are they becoming grumpy? In fact the real and original Christmas did start a long time ago, two thousand years ago. That sounds like it belongs to a mythical saga before the mists of time, but in fact it is linked solidly with our current history and evidence of that time is in many places in the world. Have you ever tried to make the link between with the Jesus of Christmas and the Roman roads you might have walked on in the Middle East, and the Roman roads and bridges in Britain, and the ancient buildings of Greece that you might have taken photos of? In fact it is all very tangible. Even King Herod and Julius Caesar from the time of Jesus’ birth, still loom large in real time history. No, the Christmas story did not float out of the ‘long ago ether’. Jesus as the baby, and eventually the man, are rooted solidly in history. So what does it say that Christians have celebrated the birth of Jesus at Christmas every year since? I understand it to mean that this Jesus was no ordinary baby. He was the Son of God sent to earth to redeem a fallen people, so that their relationship to their creator could be restored. If you take this statement seriously and want to know more, I suggest you do a bit of sleuthing around in the most popularly sold book of all time, the Bible, and have it confirmed. Of course, if we appropriate that as true, then doesn’t the message suit today well? Don’t we live in a fallen world? Haven’t we got far away from our creator? Don’t we need redemption? Aren’t we desperate for relationship and belonging? Aren’t we a people who are searching for love? The world I live in is screaming for these things. And do you know what? Christians believe that Jesus still lives today in His Heaven advocating for us as He promised all those years ago and calling us so that He can be the answer to the questions above. It seems sad that the cries of many are so loud that they can’t hear Him call. From where I sit as a counselor and pastor, I see many in crisis and I firmly believe that where they’re at is the very place that Jesus stands – at those crossroads – in that crisis. So next time you go to complain about Christmas starting early, try to look behind the annoying incessant carols in the stores that go on for months, and the tinsel and odd shaped Santas, and see if you can locate the real Jesus of Christmas who transcends time but lives in it – our time. This is a matter of God’s Grace and our faith. If you would like to get some of this unpacked give me a call on the number below. I wish you a safe and Merry Christmas.

Graeme Dawson B.Min. Grad.Dip.CC.
Co-ordinator Focal Point & Valley Care Counsellor
Valley Care Counselling Service 0409 517273.


Focal Point Yarra Valley 2009