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Viewpoint from Rev Selwyn Tillett 11/12/2015 

Dove rightRevd Selwyn Tillett
Priest-in-charge of the Flegg Coastal group of churches (Winterton, Somerton, Horsey, and Hemsby)

It's that time of year again.  A lot of familiar things are happening.  In a fortnight’s time all the ‘busyness’ of preparing for Christmas will come to a head.  And so I find myself asking familiar questions about what Christmas means.  What makes Christmas? Is it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the post, a turkey dinner with family and friends, and endless greetings of "Happy Christmas" from friends and strangers?
The answer is that it’s all that and much more.  The most familiar, and yet the most unusual and powerful thing about this and every Christmas, is that for millions of people it’s when they celebrate the birth of Jesus.  The prophets of the Old Testament had told of his coming hundreds of years before; now his birth brought great joy to the world of his own time.  Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event.  They knew this was no ordinary baby.  And many other people also recognise and share all the familiar elements in that story, perhaps in carols or school nativity plays, even if we don’t think of ourselves as Christians.  We know all about it
dove leftBut this is just the start.  It’s easy to forget how the story ends.  It doesn’t finish when we put the decorations away for another year.  It’s a historical fact that Jesus grew up.  He became renowned as a preacher, a teacher, a healer, one who for many people put a human face on the mystery of God.  His own friends finally thought of him as God’s son, and his enemies had him sent to an unthinkably cruel death.  But the experience of knowing him continued to inspire his disciples – and the simple existence of his followers today is, for many, evidence of the truth of his message of God’s love
So, in reality, his story isn’t over yet.  It continues in the life and the day-to-day work and witness of organisations and individuals all over the world.   It continues in the message that will be heard in two weeks’ time at so many special Christmas services, which is Jesus’ own familiar message of truth, love, and hope.  And any local church will be very glad to see you if you want to find out more about him, even/especially if it’s for the first time