Chappers’ Christmas Message

HAVE you ever bought someone a gift and had to keep it a secret? It can be very tough, especially when you know that it is something that your loved one will really enjoy, writes Paul Johnson, Club Chaplain.

A story is told, in our family, about me when I was about six or seven years old. I had saved up my money and bought my older brother an Everton scarf for his birthday. I was bubbling with excitement, because it was probably the first time that I had actually used my own money to get him a present. I had to keep it a secret. One day, when we were having our tea, my brother asked me about my day. Without thinking, apparently, I said, “I’ve had a great day, but it’s hard to not tell you about the Everton scarf that I’ve bought you, but I’m doing really well at keeping it a secret!” Great! Secret blown!

Another pressure which we sometimes feel, around this time of year, is when we open a present and it isn’t quite what we hoped to find inside. You know the feeling… and the response! We smile, slightly grit our teeth and, somewhat insincerely, say, “Thank you very much, that’s lovely!”

I wonder how Mary and Joseph felt when they received their gifts following the birth of Jesus. We don’t know whether the shepherds took anything along. Who knows what the innkeeper thought – a baby having been born in his stable! Then there’s the Wise Men. Granted, they probably arrived a couple of years later, but what can a family with a toddler do with some incense (frankincense) and some embalming fluid (myrrh) – some gold, well, fair enough, they could use that!

Christmas is a time of giving and receiving. It is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. There’s no doubt that he was born and lived, the question is, ‘why did it happen?’ Christians say that Jesus was God’s unexpected gift to the world. A peacemaker in a time of crisis. How our world could use that right now!

My questions to you, this Christmas time, are, “What is your gift to the world?” and, “What unexpected thing could you do, to bring a smile to the face of another person?”

Time flies, so we will be back at the Totally Wicked Stadium for our frendlies and the start of the new season, very soon. Rugby League is returning to the world! Have a fantastic Christmas and may God bless you in 2017. COYS!

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