In my role as State Moderator, I’ve had the chance to record a Christmas, Good Friday and Easter message for Sydney radio station Hope 103.2. The messages are about a minute or about 150 words. I don’t know if you’ve heard any of them, so I thought I’d give you the text here.
“Christmas starts with Christ”
I love Christmas bon-bons. And I love the expectation of finding three things in my bon-bon: a joke, a gift, and a party hat. Each of them remind me of the message of Christmas.
The joke reminds me of the joy of Christmas. A good joke makes us laugh. Even a bad joke can bring a groan and a smile. And the angel’s message was news of joy. He said, “I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.” It was the news of the birth of the Saviour.
The bon-bon gift might be just a little plastic toy. I’ve even found a pair of nail clippers in
one of mine. It reminds of the gifts of the wise men, gifts fit for a king. It reminds us of the first Christmas present: the Son of God.
And the party hat might just be paper. But it comes in the shape of a crown. So it reminds us that the baby of Bethlehem grew into the man of Nazareth, Jesus the king of the Jews, the Lord of all the earth.
So grab your bon-bon and crack open your Christmas cracker. And let the gifts inside remind you of the message of Christmas: the gift of the King who brings us joy.
The Heart of Easter
You can’t deny that Easter lies at the heart of Christian faith. Traditionally, Christians have gathered together to worship God and to encourage each other on a Sunday. That’s because the first Easter Day was on a Sunday. Every week we are remembering that what lies at the heart of our faith and life is what happened at Easter.
The women went to the tomb. They went at night. They went with spices and ointment to prepare his body for its long, slow decay. They arrived in the light of dawn. The tomb was empty. And the angel said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead. He is not here. He is risen.”
This is the message that lies at the heart of Easter. We do not honour a dead hero. We do not mourn a failed Messiah. We serve the living Lord Jesus, raised from the dead. Death could not hold him. It is the promise that God has made us for life.
So as we remember the empty tomb that lies at the heart of Easter, let us remember to live for God who made us for life.
Love is a funny word. We say, I love Australia, or, I love pizza, or, turn it up, I love this song. But all our loves, whether great or small, are measured by the standard of the cross of Jesus.
I mean there are a handful of people I would give one of my kidneys. But Jesus showed his love for me in that he gave me both his kidneys when he died for me. And for you. And for all of us. Jesus gave his best, his all, taking our place so that we might become friends with God.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus didn’t just talk the talk. He walked the walk.
So we might say, I love my family, I love my country, I love my God. But the greatest love of all is God’s love for me in his Son Jesus who laid down his life for us that we might be his friends