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Believe the Hype

It is now December. Christmas trees are appearing in town centres and Christmas adverts have already been on the TV for weeks. I now have my little wooden Christmas tree up and my advent calendar out. It’s the beginnings of the build up to Christmas and already my heart is starting to get excited, although it doesn’t really feel like Christmas yet – probably because it’s still weeks away. Now I am usually one of the first to suggest that Christmas is really far more commercial than is probably healthy, and that it is ridiculous that certain shopping centres put up decorations as early as the beginning of November, and that in many ways people seem to have lost the focus of what Christmas is about. But even so, I have to admit that I actually love the Christmas hype. It all adds to the suspense and the atmosphere, and the feeling that something truly significant and important is coming soon.

And of course it is – Christmas, when we celebrate the day that Jesus, fully man yet fully God came to earth to live a perfect human life, with suffering but yet without fault, all so that man might know God. One of the greatest days in human history so far, only surpassed by the day He died on a cross so that nothing would stand in the way of us knowing God for ourselves. I mean, this is the stuff of legend, of Hollywood blockbusters, and of folk songs. And yet all of this, so I believe, is true – now that’s surely worth the hype and something worth celebrating!

The Christmas story is full of climax and the building of tension, from choirs of angels, to worshiping shepherds, to a bright shining star which guided belated wise men with their gifts from afar. And just as this major event in the story of the world seems to have its very own narration with both the heavens and the earth acknowledging the significance of this moment, so too, the defining moments of our lives sometimes seem to have a similar narration. Whether it’s the words of those around us, the raincloud that seems to open in sympathy with our circumstances or the look of the moon which always knows how to reflect the mood of my soul. Sometimes the world seems to know exactly what we’re going through. And sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the world just seems to carry on, running its own merry course, oblivious to the magnitude of what we are going through. Mary must have felt like that often on her journey. Not least of all when she was in labour far from home and with nowhere to go.

As Christmas comes, for some of us it will be a highlight in a time of joy and prosperity. For others it will be a welcome break in a hectic schedule, something to look forward to. To others still it will be something to be endured with the promise of a return to normality afterward. And to others it will be just another day in a life full of daily struggles. And Jesus came into this world for every one of us. Regardless of circumstance or situation, He came for all of us. And even if no-one else in the world recognises what we are going through, He does. And He came for us, to share what we are going through, whether joy or pain. And He understands for He has already experienced the joy and the pain that this life has to offer. This is what I celebrate. Jesus, who came to live amongst us, so that He might know us, despite what it would cost Him. Who knows fully all that we are and all that we are going through, and yet is never deterred by it. Who loves us completely and did it all just so we might know Him too. And that’s worth more than just celebrating – it’s worth the worship of my heart.

Originally written for the December 2021 ABC Newsletter

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