Chapper’s Christmas Message

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

What’s your favourite Christmas song? A recent survey threw out some interesting results!

The obvious ones were there – Fairytale of New York, Merry Christmas Everybody and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, but top of the list was O Holy Night.

It’s an interesting choice and one that I would find it tough to disagree with. It came out top of two different surveys – The Nation’s Favourite Christmas Song and The Nation’s Favourite Christmas Carol.

OK, that’s fine, but what’s your favourite line from a Christmas song?

Is it that line from Fairytale Of New York that got it cut from many shops’ playlists? Maybe it’s ‘Bring us some figgy pudding!” or “All I want for Christmas is you.” Could it be that classic festive ditty, “Christmas time, don’t let the bells end!”?

My favourite line comes in the classic carol, written by Charles Wesley and set to music by Mendelssohn, Hark The Herald Angels Sing.

The words say, “Pleased as man, with man, to dwell; Jesus our Emmanuel”.

That may sound like an odd collection of words, if you don’t know what they mean, but it’s the meaning that makes them so special for me. The amazing story of Christmas is the story of God being born as a human being and living with people, just like you and me – “Pleased as man, with man, to dwell.” Then the word Emmanuel literally means, “God with us”.

If you read the line knowing the meaning, it literally says that God, the creator of all things and most powerful being in the universe, chose to leave the amazing place called Heaven and chose to live as a human being – God with us!

Why do I find that so amazing? Well that tells me that human beings are just so incredible important and valuable. Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you are worthless or that you belong on the edge of things! God literally moved Heaven and Earth to show how valued you really are.

This Christmas, we have seen many news stories about the rise of homelessness and rough sleeping in the UK. We have seen it ourselves in our own area. I love that Derek Hardman, our Community Foundation Chaplain, has been taking a small team out into town centre, each week, to show love and care to those people who are living on the streets of St Helens – reminding them that we, as a club, are interested in their stories and their wellbeing.

I love that, last week, our first team squad went into local hospitals to give out gifts and spend time with families for whom Christmas won’t play out in the way that they hoped it would. It feels like the right thing to do, to be a club who truly show people that they mean something and that someone is there for them – it feels like the kind of thing that Jesus would do and, if you look it at His story, you will see that it is indeed what He did!

This Christmas, have an amazing few days. Enjoy time with family and friends, celebrate and have lots of fun. In the middle of it all, remember the incredible fact that God loves you so much that He would live as a human being, bringing amazing value to people like you and me and to people who many in the world would choose to ignore. Jesus our Emmanuel.

In the words of Noddy Holder, “Merry Christmas Everybody!”

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