Christmas comes but once a year!
“Christmas Comes But Once A Year” was a 1936 animated film set in an orphanage. The children wake up on Christmas day and grab their presents to the theme song:
“Christmas comes but once a year,
now it's here, now it's here,
bringing lots of joy and cheer…”
However, things soon go sour as the toys break easily and the children take themselves back to bed in floods of tears. Then Professor Grampy hears them, makes new toys out of household items, dresses up as Santa and distributes the homemade gifts to the joy of the children and all is well, Ahh!.
Christmas still comes once a year but not always with joy and cheer. Our first Christmas card arrived a couple of days ago with a letter saying that our friend’s daughter had passed away due to cancer. A neighbour has just lost her mother and someone else we know will have the first Christmas without her dear husband. These and similar situations will be played out across the world and within our villages. On the other hand, we know a local couple for whom this will be their babies first Christmas. There are those who will be away with families, others on holiday while some will be home alone, with meagre supplies. So how can the message of the Gospel (good news) be clearly announced within our villages, towns and cities?
Professor Grampy doesn’t exist and we can’t go around our villages making everything right, but we do have good news as expressed by Isaac Watts in 1719, “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!” In Christ we have the answer, even in suffering. He is also the answer for those who put their hope in riches, in feeling good, comfortable and secure – all need to hear the message of true Joy found only in Jesus and we need to grasp every opportunity to tell them and that is the challenge and privilege we all face at Christmas and throughout the year.
How can we reach out to the hurt as well as those who see no need? How can we help them see that a baby in a manger is their only true hope of peace?
We will all be in touch with those in both camps, the happy and the sad and we must be prepared to help them find Jesus “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect “1 Peter 3:15”
In the children’s film “Christmas comes…”, they had a Christmas different and better than the one they expected and that’s what we can and must offer especially when people are more open to the gospel at Christmas.