December 2019 (1-28 December) see the Resource Pack PDF for full details including weekly subthemes and daily prompts and Bible readings and the Discussion Group Questions PDF to see the material adapted for small groups.
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 knows 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.
If there is one big idea that the true meaning of Christmas expresses, it must surely be that God is with us in the midst of all our struggles and fears. 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: love can conquer fear. Grace comes to town.
From the set reading in the lectionary we have tried to weave the story of God’s grace into the context of our lives and show how it has been experienced and encountered in the history of the world. While it highlights the role and significance of one nation Israel, it does so in order to explain and reveal the grace of God to the whole of humanity. God has an ultimate plan to bring about peace in our hearts and peace on earth. So this Christmas we are running with the mind-blowing idea that we are being invited to live in the power of Grace.