Christians encouraged to practise generosity
The President of the Methodist Church has issued a Christmas message in which she calls on Christians to celebrate the love of God by being generous to those around them.
The Reverend Ruth Gee urged believers to remember the true meaning of Christmas and the significance it has on our lives.
"This is the moment when we remember that: 'The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory.'
"It doesn't get much more real than this. In Jesus we see, and we encounter, the creator of the universe, the artist who weaves the fabric of our being. This is the reality that God is with us," she said.
The focus of the address was on festivity and merriment as she calls on believers to demonstrate the jubilance that the Christmas story inspires.
"We are filled with the deep and real joy of those who know that they are loved and valued beyond measure.
"In all the busyness of the festival, don't forget to be excited," she reminded believers.
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"Celebrate the birth of Jesus, and share the good news of God's generous love as widely as you can. Celebrate and share the generous love of God who sent his only son so that we might know the father through the child."
She also suggested that our response to God's love should be one of generosity and kindness towards other people.
"We can be generous with our time; time spent with God and time spent with others. Only if we spend time with God will we grow to know God better.
"We can also be generous with our resources, with our gifts and skills and with our money. And we can be generous with our love, love of God and love of others which is often shown when we engage with, and respond to, challenges and needs in society," she noted.
"Celebrate and share the generous love of God who mothers us and longs to wipe away our tears, and to nurture us so that we can become the people she has created us to be.
She finished her address with the prayer that all "will find the space and the time to kneel at the manger, to look deep into the eyes of Jesus and to glimpse the glory of God. Then you will know that Christmas is real."