Buttes New British Cemetery world war 1

Greater love hath no man than this… | Christmas Message 2018

As we approach Christmas and the close of another year, Remembrance Day is not far from our memories. Significantly this year we have commemorated a hundred years since the end of the First World War.

Thousands upon thousands willingly went to serve our country in that terrible war to give us the freedom and peace that we still benefit from today. We cannot and should not forget what they had to endure, and the enormous sacrifice of life.

What a relief then when the Armistice came into force at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. There was much rejoicing at the news, but for so many the suffering and loss of loved ones outweighed any joy and peace they would have felt.

There is a joy in having peace at the end of any conflict, but also a realisation that it comes at immense cost. It is equally so when we look again this Christmas at Jesus’s coming into this world and why He came.

What joyful news it was when God at His appointed time announced the sending of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be the Saviour of sinners. This was news for which the world had been waiting for so long.

‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2.10-11).

God had chosen Mary, a young lady of no fame or wealth, to be the mother of His Son. She trusted God’s Word implicitly, as did Joseph. When the miraculous conception was revealed to him he unquestioningly took Mary to be his wife. These two individuals willingly served God and accepted their role in this truly unique event in history.

‘And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word’ (Luke 1.38).

At what tremendous cost it was for God to send His own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour. God knew the suffering that His Son would endure in order to fulfil His plan of salvation for sinful mankind. What amazing love that Jesus left the glories of heaven, came to this earth and willingly went to the cross to lay down His life, so that we could be forgiven and have peace with God.

Jesus said: ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15.13).

On the 11th of November this year, crowds gathered in churches and at war memorials to remember those who gave their lives to give us peace in our land. Let us also remember on the 25th of December the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ who came to give His life so that we might know His peace in our hearts.

Jesus said: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid’ (John 14.27).