Christmas: a celebration we love! From the presents, celebrating with family and friends, holidays, warm sunny days, Myer window displays, to huge Christmas trees opulently decorated with twinkling lights! It’s heaven on earth for our children as they squeal with excitement, rip open what their grandparents have gifted them, and look with wide-eyed wonder at the decorations that we drape across our homes.
If we don’t focus too long on the dwindling bank balance, the family disagreements which crop up, and possibly feeling that we’ve eaten way too much pudding, we do love a good Christmas!
We may even attend a midnight service at our local church or gather with many at a local Carols by Candlelight event held by our local council. We enjoy singing about a baby born in a manager, with angels, shepherds and kings close by, or watch our children be part of a nativity play.
And then it is all over for another year. We pack away the tree, say farewell to our relatives, and make new year promises to lose the weight we have put on over the festive season!
And before we know it, hot cross buns are in store!
Hot cross buns… one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns…
As my three growing sons love hot cross buns, my Mum starts buying them for us as soon as they hit the shelves! Chocolate ones, brioche, plain, traditional, apple and cinnamon – you name it, we’ve tried it!
And boy, will we be disappointed when they’re not for sale any longer!
Although part of me complains that we barely have time to draw a breath after Christmas than we find there are hot cross buns on offer, it does draw a smile to my face. For although Christmas is a time of fun and joy, it is merely the start of the story of the baby in the manger.
That baby, Jesus, grew up with his parents, Mary and Joseph. He lived in Israel, talking about who God was to people throughout the land, and showing them God’s love and power through healing them and through the way he lived.
And then, at only 33 years of age, Jesus died a gruesome death on a cross.
A cross, like the ones piped onto the hot cross buns we so enjoy to eat.
Why did Jesus die? Legally speaking, he had claimed to be God’s son, something that was intolerable to the religious authorities. And in claiming this, he also taught that those who believed in him and who he was, would have life eternal and a restored relationship with God, our Lord and Creator.
Jesus: born as an innocent baby, lived a perfect life of loving service towards others, and then died a painful death on a cross.
I invite you to spend some time this Easter, looking into this man named Jesus, and to read not just about his birth but to read on to the end of the story. However, Jesus death is not the end of the story! Let’s consider discussing with our Christian friends why they believe in Jesus and
put their trust in him, living for him and serving him? Or maybe let’s have a look at the Bible, spend some time reading about Jesus in one of the books within the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John)? Or maybe check out a website like www.publicchristianity.org, a website that promotes the public
understanding of the Christian faith?
As we sink our teeth into a hot cross bun why don’t we all reflect a little more on what the cross means this Easter?