Knights Close resident and churchgoer Patrick Gillan on why religion is important at Christmas
IN A time when all things religious are being discouraged and swept away we might well wonder why keeping Christ at the centre of Christmas is still important.
The latest census demonstrates a significant rise in people who have no religious affiliation.
The militant secularists must be squealing with delight at the recent statistics.
However, I would caution the secular brigade from indulging in any kind of victory. Why?
Because significant numbers of people throughout the UK and beyond, are finding Jesus is not just a fairy story but a living and extraordinary individual who in 2012 is still changing lives.
I can evidence this in my own family who attended the Alpha course in the past few months and come to believe and as a result their lives have changed.
Christmas did not start with a baby in a manger. Those of us who are believers see a pattern throughout scripture that a big event is coming. This event culminated in the birth of a Jewish baby into a family poor, homeless and excluded from mainstream society.
It was no mistake for Christ to be born in such circumstances because Christmas is a message of hope for people who face difficult times or who are lonely or isolated or in fuel poverty or just plain different.
In case you're wondering, he also came for the rich.
Secularists with their egotistic intellectualism and materialistic values fail to comprehend how important it is to have a person like Christ on the side of the downtrodden. This unique and wonderful baby brings a message of hope in a hopeless world.
This past week as we witnessed the massacre of the innocents in America we need more then ever a guide like Jesus to bring purpose and meaning to life.
Jesus is the spiritual dimension in a world obsessed with form. He is beyond that, and his star directs us to a different and fulfilling life, one that lifts us up beyond the horrors we witness in our world to a place of peace and harmony.