Chapper’s Christmas Message

Our Club Chaplain, Paul Johnson, wishes all Saints fans a Merry Christmas.

I love Christmas lights. I am one of those people who, given the chance, would absolutely cover my house with them and would cause an obstruction to landing aircraft, because of the brightness! My wife isn’t like me in that regard. She prefers understated Christmas lights, generally white with a red bow or something.

We discuss this each November and, as Brian Clough used to say, “We sit down and chat and decide that she’s right!” Our house has white lights and red stars outside. It looks tasteful and very pretty, but I still secretly yearn for the colours and tackiness of the National Lampoon’s house!

Have you ever noticed that, when you buy a traditional set of coloured Christmas fairy lights, they are generally four colours – green, blue, red and yellow? Did you realise that those colours each have something very powerful to say about the Christmas story?

Green – the green lights are there to remind us of the shepherds, who were sitting in the fields and watching out for their sheep. The peace and tranquillity of their evening in Bethlehem’s hills was broken by the sound of angels, who told them about the birth of Jesus in the village below. Why is this so important? Well, shepherds really were on the bottom rung of the social ladder. They were uneducated and viewed as being social outcasts. Their testimony wasn’t valid in the court of law because, “Who would trust a shepherd?” Maybe, this year, you feel on the edge of things and of little value. Remember that God decided to tell the shepherds about Jesus’ birth before He told anyone else. He takes those on the edge and brings them right into the centre. You are of incredible importance.

Blue – the blue lights are meant to remind us of the night sky and the Wise Men, who were searching for significance from a distant land. These people, the Magi, were followers of a different faith and were from the area around Iran. I find it incredible that some of the first people to recognise that Jesus was being born, weren’t the people who should have been looking. God will cross national and religious boundaries to tell people good news. Maybe this year has been a year of great change and transition for you. Maybe you find yourself in a different town, city or even nation and feel as though you will never fit in. God reminds us, through the story of the Wise Men, that if you are looking for Him, you will find Him. He reminds us that national, racial, gender, sexuality and any other divide that people put up in our culture, is irrelevant in His eyes – He loves each of us equally.

Red – the red lights remind us that the Christmas story and the Easter story are completely linked. Just like the holly berries, the red lights are there to remind us that Jesus was prepared to die to make it possible for people to be friends of God. They remind us that, however low our self-opinion may be, you are worth the death of God’s son. You are of incredible value.

Yellow – the yellow lights are to remind us of the gift of gold, which was given to Jesus’ family shortly after His birth. They are to remind us that, in a world of chaos, there is a king who is in control. This baby would grow up and would, literally, change the world – even the date on your calendar revolves around His birth. If you feel as though your world is spinning out of control, know that it is possible to find meaning and peace in knowing that there is a plan, even if we can’t always see it.

As you celebrate Christmas this year and, as you see the lights shining around you, remember these four important messages – you matter, you are loved, you are valuable and you can know peace.

Have a fantastic Christmas and see you in a few weeks as our pre-season friendlies get underway. As one club together, let’s make 2018 a year to remember and be Saints and Proud! Happy Christmas.

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