This is the text of Paul’s Christmas Carol Service Message. It wasn’t recorded, but I thought it worth hearing it again, so asked Paul for his notes:
Good evening to you all, it’s good to see you all here this evening and I’m really pleased that you have joined us here for our worship tonight. I hope you find it a real blessing. Because that’s what Christmas is all about, it’s all about blessings. Christmas is a fantastic time of year isn’t it. I love all the happiness of this time, the gifts, the getting together with family and friends the joy and the laughter. I’m not so fond of the busy shopping centres or the mad rush that sometimes seems to take over. So it can also be quite nice during the festive holidays to just sit and do nothing. Read a book, let the kids play or just crash in front of the telly and just watch a ?lm or your favourite program. Some of us buy the radio times, other magazines are available, to plan our Christmas viewing. And in amongst the films are the usual programs, and also a lot of so called Christmas specials of people’s favourites, such as Downton Abbey, Eastenders coronation farm and emmerdale street, can you tell that I don’t watch the soaps?
What I do like though is a program called ‘undercover boss’ Have you ever seen this program at all? If you haven’t let me explain what happens.
Basically the C.E.O or boss of a large and successful company lays aside all of their privileges and status in order to dress down and identify with the ordinary people in their business, the common people if you like. They come amongst the ordinary goings on. And the king of the company is transformed by the experience and so are the people. They now know that the person in charge knows what it’s like in their lives, and that he really cares for them and understands what it’s like to live an ordinary life.As we move closer to Christmas we can make a comparison here about God. Jesus coming down to the world, giving up all his status,and privileges, laying aside his royal robes to
be amongst his people. The ordinary common people if you like. We have a God who cares and loves us so much he came down to earth. That is the wonderful promise that is the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
However there is also a direct opposite here to the program undercover boss as well. Because in the show the boss often rewards some of the people he meets but then just returns to his privileged life as before, whilst leaving them where they were.
This is not how it happens with God. Jesus not only stepped outside his heavenly glory in order to come and experience life with us, his purpose in doing so was to lead us back to his kingdom so that we might experience the delights of his life. In other words it was not that he came to experience our life, but to lead us to a fuller life with him.It was important for him to come into our world, but his reason for doing so was for us to be able to come into his world. It is one thing to have a God who is willing to come and share in our suffering, it is quite another to have a God who is able to deliver us from our suffering. It is one thing to have a God who is willing to take on our identity, it is quite another to have a God who wants us to take on his identity. It is one thing to have a God who is willing to come to the squalor of our world, and quite another to have a God who invites us to step into the glory of his world. God loved the world so much that he sent his only son so that all who believe in him shall not perish but shall inherit eternal life.
When Jesus came to us on that ?rst Christmas he was the person in charge of all heaven and earth, the boss, undercover. Laying aside all of his status and privileges to be amongst us. But he didn’t just return and leave us as we
were. He invited all of us to come and join him into the presence of his kingdom.
This Christmas, I urge you to come and rejoice in the king of kings and take up his invitation to be in his kingdom now.