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A White Rabbit and Mushrooms
9 Lessons and Carols 2016 – St Georges
Well it’s great to see you all here at this exciting time of year.
I know it’s celebration time, you know, Advent on the way to Christmas.
I know it’s that time of year because Tanglin Mall down the road is trumpeting the fact very loudly by their eye-
This year’s display is particularly memorable. There’s the winter snow theme as usual, with a number of chimneys all ready for you know who.
But I must say my eyes have been drawn to the centrepiece of the display this year which is ...
A Big White Rabbit with a red top hat and huge mushrooms.
Now if you have been following our Christmas carols and readings closely tonight you will have noticed there has been no references to mushrooms or a big white rabbit, red top hat or not.
We have had 6 readings or Bible lessons so far, with carols to match.
There was mention of a serpent from Genesis 3. From Isaiah 11 we heard of a wolf, a leopard, a lamb, a goat, a lion, an ox, a cobra and a viper.
And our carols have mentioned oxen, a lions claw & shepherds looking after sheep and just now we had the Donkey carol.
But there has certainly been no mention of mushrooms or a white rabbit...& our three readings to come won’t mention them either. I’m sorry if you were expecting them!
I was thinking perhaps the designer of the Tanglin Mall display felt that rabbits needed more exposure and had been underdone at Christmas...
But you would have to say Rabbits have certainly been overdone at Easter!
Anyway, whatever the thinking, it is brilliant marketing because I’m speaking about it tonight! And if you haven’t already been down to look you will certainly do so now!
A bit of History on the Celebration.
Now my musing about mushrooms and a big white rabbit moved me to do a bit of research about our celebration of Christmas and the meaning behind it all.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say “You shall celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec 25th!”
In fact the Bible doesn’t give us the exact date of Jesus’ birthday.
And we can almost certainly say Jesus was not born in midwinter, because we read of shepherds out in the field at night!
And in more modern times Christmas has meant different things to different people.
In 17th England at the time of Cromwell Christmas was regarded as an excuse for drunkenness, greed and sexual abandon...
And this was one reason why the good and godly Parliament of the time tried to clamp down on Christmas celebrations and even outlaw some of them!
Historically speaking our modern celebration of Christmas with feasts, trees, cakes and snow has more to do with Prince Albert & Victorian Britain and my ancient ancestor Charles Dickens (who famously wrote A Christmas Carol)
Historically more to do with these things than the Bible.
Please focus on Jesus Christ.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of Christmas. And I enjoy the presents, the trees, Christmas Turkey, Christmas cake and Christmas mince pies, just like you do!
But let me encourage you to forget the mental gymnastics required to turn these traditions back to Jesus.
No here is a much better way to go I think.
In the midst of all the wonderful eating, gift exchanging and singing...graciously remind yourself and those you know and love, how about thinking of Jesus.
You see that is what our Bible readings all do tonight. They point us to Jesus Christ.
That is what our Christmas Carols do – they point us to Jesus Christ.
And why is that?
Because our lovely celebrations and traditions might come and go and they do...
But they do nothing to deal with the evil, the sin and suffering we see all around us.
And sadly inside all of us too.
Christmas Fantasy displays and the Christmas Spirit, whatever that is, won’t even leave a dent in these things.
No friends we need Jesus Christ.
We need the Son of the most high. The one miraculously born of a virgin. We need Jesus Christ.
We need the great King who was foretold and born in Bethlehem, the city of David.
We need him above all others, for he is our Saviour, our rescuer...He is Christ the Lord.
We need Jesus Christ, because without him our celebration is just so, so hollow...
You know drunken office parties, stress, family bickering and ugly and rampant consumerism.
Christmas is only worth celebrating when it’s on a good street -
The birth of Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son tells us God has not given up on us.
God has not given up on our crazy messed up lives – far from it.
No in the person of Jesus God has come to us. He is one with us.
And by his perfect life and death, God has brought us forgiveness and restored relationship with himself.
And this has the power to transform all of our relationships.
And it gives us the hope of everlasting life and peace.
Please keep listening closely to our lessons tonight. For we are hearing the good news of eternal life.
And please keep singing with all your might...For as we sing we join with the angels.
“Hark now hear the angels sing, a new kings born today.
And man will live for evermore. Because of Christmas day...
Trumpets sound and Angels sing... Listen to what they say...
And man will live for evermore because of Christmas Day.
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