Well, as I write, Christmas is only two sleeps away. As a child that would have been almost unbearably exciting. Have I become too familiar with the story?
Twenty centuries ago the religious leaders of the day were able to tell King Herod with certainty that the promised Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. The inquiring Magi travelled several hundred miles in search of a baby following a star yet the supposed custodians of the faith couldn’t be bothered to walk five miles along a familiar road to find out more…
Shepherds meanwhile, interrupted at work by Angels, risked leaving their flocks, to find a manger in a crowded village. And God through Jesus risked it all to come to a cattle stall because He thought you were worth it.
I don’t like having my routine shaken up. But Christmas is all about people whose lifes were well and truly turned upside down. The original event wasn’t comfortable but was infinitely worthwhile to those who were part of it.
In a number of countries around the world it’s dangerous to celebrate Christmas. It risks aggravating the majority communities and your family. But many are willing to risk so much at this time of year both to celebrate Jesus’s birth or find out more about Him. To use a cliche; it’s less about presents and more about His presence. The risk, they feel, is worthwhile.
Having said that about presents, for over 16 000 children in Vietnam they will receive a special Children’s Bible this Christmas. Having been to Vietnam I know this will mean so much. Many girls and boys have been praying for one for a long time. Your gifts help make this possible.
This year, with so many of us locked down or unable to have our normal Christmas let’s remember those for whom Christmas is special but a risk. The Bangladeshi Christians below won’t be able to meet this year. That is very hard for them as they are isolated for much of the year. This is a unique and difficult Christmas for many of us both in UK and elsewhere. We may feel isolated but nevertheless we are part of something much bigger.
I wish you and your family a wonderful and blessed Christmas from the bottom of my heart. Whatever your circumstances I hope you can rejoice! Jesus considers you are worth the risk of Him coming. John’s gospel 3:16