The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the
foundation of his throne....
The Lord loves those who hate evil;
he guards the lives of his faithful;
he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
Light dawns for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!
(Church in Wales lectionary, from New Revised Standard version)
Up to my late teens, the Carol Service in church wasn't celebrated until after Christmas Day, and certainly no carols were sung until the Christmas Day service of Matins. It seems very odd today, but before the 25th of December we were in Advent, a time of introspection and contemplation leading up to Christmas when we celebrated the coming of the Christ-child.
Of course many year's ago society kept the Christmas festivities going for twelve days, finishing at Epiphany on the 6th January with the coming of the Wise Men. Now I wouldn't really want to go back to this, but by reversing the whole period of Christmas with people putting up decorations in October, and often taking the decorations down on Boxing Day, perhaps we have lost something of what the festival is really about.
Christmas is about a gift, given in love to each one of us, by God - a gift of a baby. It celebrates the coming of the Son of God, who came to save His people from their sin.
help us to remember that
Christmas is about love:
Your love for us,
and our love for each other.
Today the church also celebrates John, the apostle. You might like to find out more about him: