One Christmas I cried because the potatoes didn’t brown properly in
the oven and I thought I had ruined the whole day. I appreciate now that
this is not a rational response! I don’t know about you, but when I start
thinking about Christmas it seems such a long way off and suddenly…
bam…I find myself in December and the mad rush of presents and food
and cards and activities and parties begins and I feel overwhelmed and
underprepared! (I know I do not speak for you all- haven’t we all got that 1
friend who has it all wrapped and sorted by 1st September and spends the
next 3 months gloating…?!)

For those of us who find ourselves under pressure, I would
recommend going back to the story in order to get some perspective (for it
is a story, filled with truths, but a story we have put together with bits of
text we find in the Bible and made a whole). 

Go back to the story and take time to think- how does what we hear
about a tiny baby have to do with today? It can seem, within the rush of
the season, that there is a disconnect with what we see and hear all
around us and the story that this celebration stems from, but there really
isn’t. Into a difficult world a baby was born, surrounded by love in various
forms (parents, shepherds, wise men) and facing all sorts of difficulties,
including having to flee to safety. Stuff we still see going on around the
world today.

When the pressures of Christmas threaten to reduce you to tears or
the difficulties of family life are too much to bear, stop and listen again to
the message of love: when a tiny baby came to show the world that we
could live together in peace, that love is stronger than anything else, and
that we are loved- perfect roasties or not! 

Jenny Mills
Minister of Newport Pagnell United Reformed Church
and West End United Church, Wolverton