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Dear COA Family,

Blessed Christmas to you and your family and loved ones!

With the coming of Christmas, let’s remember that it is a season of both thanksgiving and sharing of all that is good with others. This year is a particularly opportune time for celebration as we emerge from the pandemic to be able to celebrate it without restrictions for the first time in three years!

As we gather around the Christmas table this year, let’s spend time for everyone to give thanks for at least three blessings for the year that has passed – one for the past week, another for the past month and finally one for the past year. Not only will this be the most meaningful activity you can engage in, it will also serve to strengthen your faith and trust in God. As the hymn goes, “Count your blessings – name them one by one, and it will surprise you to see what the Lord has done!”

Good and meaningful as Christmas is, there have been concerted efforts to minimise or even hinder the celebration of Christmas.

I have been told that workplaces and offices have seen Christmas greetings being replaced by Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings instead. There seems to be a certain aversion towards the remembrance or even mention of Christ!

Not only that, I have learnt that there are even churches who do not celebrate Christmas, claiming that this holiday is derived from a pagan tradition. Therefore, life proceeds as usual for them in the season of Christmas.

My only response is that in the grand perspective of things, let’s be fully thankful in our hearts together with Mary, the mother of Jesus, for the coming of the Saviour into the world. She says these words which we now recite or sing regularly in our prayers:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked upon the humble estate of his servant” Luke 1:46-48.

The true reason for celebrating Christmas is the amazing goodness and mercy that God has shown us through the birth of his Son. This is worth celebrating and sharing about with others and should not be kept hidden or forgotten, especially by us who are God’s recipients of grace!

Revd Ian