Everything changes when Grace comes to town!
If you are in marketing or retail you will be familiar with the mindset that asks the question, “So what is the big idea this Christmas?” Human nature is somehow always looking to find something that is new and shiny. Often it is to distract us from all that is happening around us. The marketing strategists know this, so they go looking for something: an idea, a longing, an emotion, even an experience, something to which they can attach the commodity they are selling. Christmas is the time to sell — so they need ideas and feelings that they know will tug at our heart strings. Their skill is to link their commodity to our emotional attachments.
It’s interesting as we approach a General Election to note that the politicians are trying to grab our attention by seeking to attach their political policies to ideas that they think will touch us emotionally. This is the age of emotion. And emotions are certainly running high during this election. Many people are looking beyond the empty promises and they are not not willing to be manipulated or taken in by soundbites and catchy slogans.
It’s almost as though humanity has woken up and is in search of more than words or empty promises. All around the world people are looking to encounter genuine love. So Sanctuary First has enlisted the help of The Bogle Band to write and record a Christmas single that we hope will help spread our message, our big idea. What better way than to sing about angels and hope in the midst of a chaotic political Christmas. When it comes to communications, the experts tell us, it’s not what we say that people remember — it is how we made them feel after a conversation; that is what they remember.
This Christmas we have chosen a bus shelter and an underpass to feature in our Sanctuary First movie. So what’s it all about? Well you’ll just have to wait a few more days to see how we intend to bring a bus shelter and an underpass into the emotions of Christmas.
Suffice to say, at the heart of the Christmas message is an emotional experience. Mary encounters a divine love that tells her she is blessed of all women. Shepherds, often thought of as vagabonds and rascals, encounter angels who turn their perspective of life upside down. They have a spiritual encounter with joy and hope at a time of real political unrest. Their country was under occupation by a foreign power, new taxes were being gathered, disgruntled people were being forced to return to their place of birth to register and be taxed. And this is the time and location when God chose to break into history, to make his home among humans. And it is to the least that the most significant event of all time was conveyed.
It is this mystery of God’s kindness and generosity and love towards a broken humanity that continues to fascinate those who write and prepare the material for Sanctuary First. What is more, this amazing concept of love known as grace is central to the Christmas story.
So we have come up with the Christmas theme “Grace Comes To Town.” We believe this message can inspire and change hearts at Christmas. When we strip all our emotions away there are perhaps just two left: love and fear. And it is these two emotions that in the end shape our lives and destiny. The big idea that Christmas celebrates is God’s amazing grace. In other words: “Everything changes when Grace comes to town.” God upsets the apple cart. He makes the first move to heal our broken lives. The thing we fear the most is rejection. Love challenges rejection and makes a friend of fear turning fear into faith and hope into a reality.
When we grasp the significance of God’s grace towards us we begin to realise that is all we need. We no longer need to be downcast. Grace changes our perspective and our hearts. I really hope you’ll enjoy the new Christmas single and if you like it I encourage others to download it and perhaps send it as a Christmas greeting to a friend. You can listen to it on Apple Music or on Spotify.