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Summary: The message of Christmas is sometimes lost in the business of buying presents and getting ready for the big day. So the message of the angels announcing the birth of Jesus is reassuring, 'Do not be afraid' - Peace message.

“Do not be afraid.” – said the angel

Those words are right in the middle of the gospel reading we hear at Christmas - in fact the very first words that are spoken.

“Do not be afraid.”

And then it gets even better.

“Behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

“A saviour has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”

These are the words we have been longing to hear once again, throughout Advent or maybe even throughout the whole year!

With this moment, the course of human history changed forever.

God became one of us. In fact, the saviour’s very own name even proclaims this incredible truth that no one ever thought possible: “Emmanuel.” God is with us.

It is a stunning thought, almost overwhelming.

And yet we are told: “Do not be afraid.”

Across more than 2000 years, those words reach out to us in joy and hope and consolation.

No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter what your circumstances, this is what matters:

“Do not be afraid.”

To the sick and the suffering, the lonely and the lost … to all those who feel that maybe God has forgotten them:

“Do not be afraid.”

To the worn torn lands, to the refugees and the homeless of this land:

“Do not be afraid.”

Because even in this, the darkest of days/nights, we are never essentially alone or abandoned.

And the word was made flesh. God in a human form didn’t come in grandeur or majesty, to manipulate or intimidate us.

He came as the most helpless and dependent creature of all: a baby, in a manger, in Bethlehem.

Yes: on Christmas day we hear again the proclamation of good news of great joy that is for all the people.

A saviour has been born.

That, I think, is the great power of Christmas, the reason why year after year that beautiful passage from Luke resonates in our churches and in our homes.

Christmas is about God’s overpowering love for us – His reassurance to a troubled, frightened, war-torn world that He is with us.

He dreams with us.

He struggles with us.

He grieves with us.

And: He hopes with us.

And His name is Emmanuel. God with us. Always. Everywhere and for all time.

"The earth has grown old with its burden of care

But at Christmas it is always young,

The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair

And its soul full of music breaks the air,

When the song of angels is sung." -- Phillips Brooks

And so we wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas and here are some last minute Christmas suggestions, presents for those we love, hate or just even ourselves:

To your enemy, give…. forgiveness.

To an opponent, give…. tolerance.

To a friend, give…. your heart.

To a customer, give... your service.

To all, give…. charity.

To every child, give…. a good example.

To yourself, give….respect.

This is the essence of what Christmas is all about – God’s love for us and as He loves us so we should love one another.

“Do not be afraid.” Said the angel and the reason is simple, God loves us so much that we have nothing to be afraid of.

GOD'S LOVE IS EVERYTHING

'God is love'...: everything has its origin in God’s love, everything is shaped by it,

everything is directed towards it.

Love is God's greatest gift to humanity, and that love is manifested in the birth of a saviour, Jesus Christ, it is his promise and it’s our only real hope."

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