Welcome to everyone joining us for our Christmas services in 2015. As a church our prayers are with you and your family for a time of blessing and renewal as we remember the birth of Jesus. (The Archbishop of Melbourne also sends his greetings, best wishes and prayers – you can watch his YouTube Christmas message here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OjxI7x-Y0E or just search for Archbishop of Melbourne Christmas 2015).
Archbishop Philip frames his message in the important difference that knowing Jesus makes because, of course, this is what Christmas is about.
On Monday 14th we held our last ever SRI Christmas service for the students of Tate Street Primary School at St Matt’s. I say the last because of changes by the State Government to policy about teaching Christianity to our school-aged children. During the “graduation ceremony” when we handed out bibles to the grade 6 students, I asked them to consider seriously the task that lies before them now. As the last generation of Tate Street students with 7 years of SRI under their belts, they have a responsibility to pass on what they know is good about Jesus to others.
Which is the same task we each have. The apostle Paul reminded Timothy, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2:2 Each of us is called to make disciples who make disciples, setting a good example by our lives so that our words and deeds match. 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will send you out to fish for people.' Mark 1:17
Christmas above all else celebrates God’s choice to come and live among His people and show them how to live and respond to Him and to each other. We can no longer take for granted that our society understands this which is why we have been positioning ourselves out among the community, more than anything else we do, so that we can teach people about Jesus.
Christmas is our time and it’s everyone’s time. It’s the time when we remember once again that Jesus leads us out to help everyone know that they can be part of God’s family.
Christmas blessings from my family to yours and from God’s family to the world! Ian.