‘Come, all you who are thirsty,
The other day I was going around Lidl with Katy, buying food for the Christmas period - it reminded me of the times when I would go around the same shop as a boy (though in those days it was a Sainsburys I think) with my mum. I have vague recollections of trying to push two trolleys at the same time - my mum didn't do food by halves when I was growing up.
It started getting me really excited about our Christmas Dinner. Christmas Dinner is one of the high points of Christmas for me, but in the past I've often feared that in looking forward to it, I might be missing the real point of Christmas. More recently I've had a change of heart and embraced it more fully for two reasons:
It is good and proper to celebrate the birth of our Saviour with feasting. At times we have shot ourselves in the foot by decrying our celebrations at Christmas rather than turning them to praise. Christmas isn't just about presents, but presents, properly used, can be turned to praise of the one who has showered us with such grace. The same is true of feasting in celebration of God's goodness and bounty to us. Our problem in the West is not that we feast on occasion, but that we are gluttonous all the other times as well.
But there is a second reason why feasting at Christmas is a good thing - it helps us to look forward to the future feast that awaits us and which Isaiah describes. What an invitation from the Lord to us to share in his great feast at the end of time. And what a feast - it is free! In my trip round Lidl, I have to say I felt a certain apprehension as the till rang up the costs of our shopping trip! But the feast that the Lord offers costs us nothing. More than that though - it truly satisfies. Over Christmas, the pudding will eventually run out, the last pig in blanket will be scoffed, the final bit of turkey will be turned into soup and we will be left hungy again. Not so the feast that the Lord offers - it will satisfy.
The good news is that we don't have to wait - the Lord offers an hors d'ouevre now. "Listen, listen to me...". When we hear him in his word, we get a lovely foretaste of the feast. At St Patrick's we've just finished a sermon series on Revelation 12. In preparing for it, it has felt like I have sat down to several delicious meals as the Lord opens his word to me.
So, this Christmas, enjoy the feasting!