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Looking forward to Christmas

By Karin Mouhon

I think most people can agree that Christmas is the best thing about wintertime. My favourite part is always the run-up to Christmas. I look forward to the Carols-by-Candlelight service, buying presents for family and friends, and of course, receiving presents! During university, my friends and I would round out the semester with a Christmas party, secret Santa gifts, and a HUGE Christmas dinner before we returned home to our families.

This Christmas will be a little different than others. At the moment large family gatherings, full church services, and heaving Christmas parties are not things we can do. We may be used to social distancing by now, but we have never had to have a socially-distanced Christmas. So, this year is bound to be strange and new for us all. When I reflected on this fact, I felt quite sad that things were not going to be normal – I just longed for normalcy.

But I went back to my Bible and revisited the Christmas story in Luke 2. Whilst reading I realised that there was the running theme of hope and anticipation throughout.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord… So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

The angel appeared to the shepherds in the field bringing them the great news that a Saviour had been born. The Angel had told them that a gift was waiting for them. Imagine receiving this kind of news today?! It would fill us all with the hope of a new world or a new beginning. I can only imagine how excited the shepherds must have been feeling at this moment.

I thought it was funny how the shepherds are said to have ‘hurried off’, I get the image of them jumping up and running off to find Mary and Joseph – this is how ready they were for good news or a message of hope.

The hope and excitement associated with Christmas are so clearly reflected by the shepherds. This Christmas, although life is very different from what it was last year, we can be like the shepherds, renewed and refreshed by the hope they felt in that moment. Because Jesus is alive, we can cling to this hope today.

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