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Dear Viewers, Readers, Friends,

The current colour change is a Christmas livery, a traditional dark green and red. This has only a tenuous link with the Nativity, as indeed does the whole of what we call Christmas, and indeed not all Christians celebrate it, or celebrate it with great gusto.

Nevertheless, it does provide a time of year which is ostensibly a time when one can make reference to Christian themes, although many people who know little about the faith will like to tell us what “the spirit of Christmas” should be, or “the true meaning of Christmas” usually accentuating a man-centred message of goodwill towards men.

Certainly the message given by the angels of goodwill henceforth, and peace among men is Biblical, but they are not messengers of bonhomie between different human beings. They give us a message that the God who made us, whom we have set at nought and abused, has entered this world as a human being Himself, in order to redeem us. This is the love that the Father shows us, that he did not leave humans in their own awful sinful mess, but came among us as one of us, lived out a perfect life and died under the curse of God that properly belonged to us, in a great exchange, whereby He becomes the Lamb, the sin-offering, given once and once only for all who wish to be part of Him. Being part of Him is a matter of believing, repudiating one’s own efforts as entirely unworthy (something which gets harder to do the more well-behaved and “religious” one is, ironically) and casting all one’s trust on Jesus.

That’s the message of Christmas, and it is the Plan of God since before the first electron spun around the first proton. It is the only way of peace among men, the channel of God’s goodwill towards me, and the One in whom we have life everlasting.

If you would like to be a Christian, the best way to get the conversation with God going is to read the Gospels and the most accessible is John’s Gospel. It will also be useful at an early point to study Paul’s letter to the Romans as this sets out the Gospel in a theological way. You should cast yourself on God in prayer,  and above all if you have some faith but at least as much dout as faith, you can ask as one man asked Jesus “Oh Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief”. This must be one of the most frequently answered prayers in the history of humanity and it is unlikely to remain unanswered if prayed with a sincere heart.

I wish you all a wonderful Advent, in the fullest sense of those words.

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