There has been a mixed response to the John Lewis Christmas advert this year. If you haven’t seen it, I’m sure you will soon. It tells the story of a cute fire-breathing dragon called Excitable Edgar who, in his desire to join in with the festive fun, accidentally melts a snowman, sets fire to Christmas decorations and burns a large hole in the ice on the lake where skaters were enjoying themselves. He is a clear fire risk, and so when people gather for Christmas celebrations, he is not invited.
But one little girl takes pity on him and brings him in to light the Christmas pudding. Everyone cheers! Because Christmas is for everybody.
There are some obvious gospel overtones here. The first people to hear about the birth of Jesus were the shepherds, a group of people usually excluded from polite society and temple worship. The first international visitors were pagan star gazers. And whilst all of Jesus’ disciples were Jewish men, from the day of Pentecost onwards the good news of Jesus has spread throughout the world to people of every background, race, culture and status. Because Jesus is for everyone.
We’ll see that in our Advent series as we work our way through the book of Jonah. The prophet Jonah was sent to take God’s message of judgement and a call to repentance to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire. But Jonah was a reluctant prophet. Jonah thought that God’s mercy and grace were not for everyone. Or at least, they shouldn’t be given to the Ninevites. They were too bad, too evil, too far beyond God’s mercy.
Do we think like that about some groups of people or some individuals and think that the good news of Christmas isn’t for them? Perhaps they have their own beliefs, or they’ve never been interested before. Perhaps we think they are too bad for God. But that isn’t true. Christmas – Jesus – is for everyone. This Christmas, let’s make sure we are passing that message on.