Well Christmas music has been playing through some supermarket sound-systems for a few weeks now, Christmas cards and wrapping-paper and catalogues for Christmas food have been available for a while too. I guess it won’t be long before we start hearing the phrase “Christmas has come early …”

For some producers of food they are certainly expecting our celebration of Christmas to begin early, seeing as I have some ‘special Christmas food’ items with a sell-by date of well before December 25th!

For the Church, the season of Advent is just beginning. Advent (like Lent before Easter) is a time of self-examination and repentance in preparation for welcoming the birth of Jesus afresh into our lives – Jesus, Immanuel - ‘God-with-us’.

Yes. at the heart of the Christmas message is the reality of God’s love – God’s love for all people. That is the reason why, by a completely mysterious way, God came to be human and come into the world of humanity, that first Christmas.

The mystery, yet the reality, is huge! God who created everything, who ordered all things, whose power is immeasurable and incomparable, came into the human realm – not as a great, wealthy and powerful ruler of an influential family, but as a vulnerable, weak baby into dire poverty to an unmarried mother. God wanted to experience everything that it is to be human – growing-up from an infant to a youth and into adulthood, knowing tears and laughter – all the emotions associated with being human. All because of God’s love, for you, for me, for all people.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life (John 3:16 NRSV)

So, for the Church, for Christian people, Christmas doesn’t come early. Christmas can’t come early, any more that your or my birthday can happen before it is due! But when Christmas does come, all the churches in Romsey wish you all joy and every blessing, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus together.

Revd Mike Perrott