Planned in advance

How do you approach Christmas shopping? It’s a ritual that many of us will go through each year. What is your normal mode of operation?

Are you one of those people who are super prepared? January comes around and you already have your list for next December. You take advantage of the New Year sales to make sure you get the best value for money and then sit back for the next 11 months with a sense of satisfaction.

Are you an organised shopper? In September or October, you sit down and make a list. You know who you’re buying for. You figure out what you are going to get and where you’re going to get it from and then steadily work down the list. Everything is bought with time to spare so you can enjoy the Christmas period with a relaxed smile.

Maybe you’re more of a spontaneous shopper. You browse the internet stores and walk through the shops keeping your eyes open to see what takes your fancy. You enjoy the excitement of not quite knowing what you’ll get or whether you’ll get it all in time.

Or are you a panic shopper? It doesn’t matter how much you say to yourself you’ll start earlier next year, the days before Christmas simply disappear. Christmas Eve comes around and you’re still not ready. The hours are slipping by and so you dash out to the shops to see what you can find, desperately hoping you can get what you need.

The Bible tells us that the greatest Christmas gift was the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. We’re told many things about the gift of Jesus. One of them is that Jesus was a gift planned a long time in advance.

One of the most famous promises of the birth of Jesus is found in the book of Isaiah. It is a passage that is often read at Christmas time or printed on Christmas cards and says:

‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ Isaiah 9:6

When was this promise made? The staggering thing is that it was given by God through the prophet Isaiah around 750 years before the birth of Jesus.

Yet, that is not all. The Bible makes the incredible claim that God had already planned to send Jesus even before the world existed.

When we come to celebrate the birth of Jesus it is good to remember that Jesus was not a last-minute thought in God’s plan. The many promises of his birth remind me of how special Jesus is and make me want to know more of him.

This Christmas I’d like to invite you all to join us for our Christmas services as we think together about the birth of Jesus and its relevance to us today. Why not come along and join us?