Making a List

This is the text from a Christmas talk as part of a carol singing run by a secular children’s organisation. There will be preschool and primary aged children and parents there. It is work in progress and I’d appreciate comments. What do you think? Too heavy?

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There’s a story of a young boy writing a letter to Santa,

Dear Santa. There are 3 boys who live in our house. There’s Geoffrey who is 2, David who is 4, and Norman who is 7.  Geoffrey is good some of the time. David is good some of the time. Norman is good all of the time. I am Norman.

I’ve been thinking about Santa recently, and, to be honest, it’s a lot of pressure, isn’t it!

He’s making a list, checking it twice, he’s going to find out who’s naughty and nice.

I’m not sure if I can be absolutely good all year in order to deserve a visit from Santa.

I’m sure this isn’t true for your children here, but thinking of myself, over the year and over my life, I’ve mucked up in little ways. I’ve mucked up in some bigger ways. I don’t think I can live up to the mark. Especially if Santa is going to going to check his list twice. Nothing goes unseen

The good news about Christmas is that God is for you, regardless of whether you’ve been good or bad.

In the Christmas story, the Angel appeared to the shepherds and announced:

“I bring you good news of great joy for all people”

All people, that means me and you and everyone else regardless of whether we are mad, bad, or good.

We celebrate Jesus coming into the world. Not just Jesus the baby, awesome though that is. But Jesus the man. God’s Son in human flesh.  Jesus the teacher, Jesus the Prophet. Jesus the one who died on the cross and mysteriously resurrected. Jesus, God’s presence brought close to regular people – fisherman, prostitutes, tax collectors.

In today’s language, he’s come to regular people. Regular working people with all the baggage, hurts, failures and regrets that a normal person carries along with themselves.

This Jesus promises to take these things and carry them with us, alongside us.

It’s good news of great joy.

He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice. And it doesn’t matter if we’re naughty or nice. With Jesus we can be absolutely certain that we’re on the list, because we have a loving God, who just want us to know him.

That’s the message of Christmas. I hope Santa is good to you this year. I don’t know if he will be or not. But I know that God can be with you, if you want him.

Merry Christmas

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