I remember one of my greatest Christmas triumphs came on a cold Christmas Eve. We had put our tree up far too early, and the tree in the front room looked distinctly unwell by the 24th December, and we decided it would be nice to find a replacement tree. But, being Christmas Eve, we thought it might have been either quite difficult or quite expensive. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I arrived at the local hardware store to find a large sign out front saying, “All Christmas Tree’s 1p.” That’s right, a penny! I couldn’t believe my luck. I went around the back and saw dozens, maybe even a hundred unsold Christmas Trees. I picked up a 1p Tree and a reduced priced bauble, so for £1 I ended up getting a whole tree and a bauble. The thought did actually go through my mind of buying all of the trees. For less than £1 I could have got a whole garden full of Christmas Trees!
We are heading into the Christmas period, but probably in a very different way than we are used to. Just like my Christmas Tree adventure, we have surprise and the unknown this year. I hope also there will be real joy, just like my Christmas Tree discovery. The key point I want to make is that I went on a mission for a Christmas tree and it went better than I could ever have imagined. In a similar way, the book of Hebrews gives us a “Christmas” text that is often overlooked, all about the reasons and motivations for Jesus coming to earth. In Hebrews 10 it tells us about Jesus’ own mission when he came into the world, and it may be quite surprising! Of course, my Christmas Tree story it is a fairly paltry example compared to the mission of the King of the Universe becoming flesh, but Hebrews 10 tells us about the reason Christ came into the world, not to take part in the sacrificial system or the offerings of the First Covenant, but to do the will of God. I wonder how these three verses from Hebrews 10:5-7 make you think about (and respond) to the familiar Christmas story?