I love everything about Christmas—the carols, the decorations in the shops, and looking at the lights on people’s homes. Weeks before, I like to pick up inexpensive things that I might use on our table or around the house. I’m not a sophisticated decorator. I like the clash of reds, greens and glitter, with Santas, reindeer, holly and cards that have snow- covered houses (even if we’re battling a scorcher of a day!).
It would be fair to say that I look forward to the traditions that our family has put in place over the entire period. The pattern of the month leading up to Christmas Day usually includes my husband playing his cornet for Christmas carols somewhere, and present-buying, and what we do on the day is pretty much the same as we have done for years. It’s become very comfortable and familiar. The family knows just what to expect.
Sometimes, though, I think about that very first Christmas, and there was nothing comfortable or familiar about it.
I’m sure that 2,000 years ago, Mary was not expecting to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and be the unwed mother of the Son of God and saviour of the world (Messiah). Nor to be entertaining mysterious visitors from the East bringing, what might appear to be, bizarre gifts for her child. Then fleeing for the life of her child.
And the poor shepherds minding their own business in the fields, just doing what they always did, would not have expected that night to see one angel, let alone the thousands that joined them, or to become the messengers announcing the birth of the new Messiah.
Although the Jews were waiting for the Messiah, they thought that he would come as a conquering king to save them from the Romans. They certainly weren’t expecting him to arrive as a helpless baby, born into very lowly circumstances.
The first Christmas was filled with supernatural encounters and incredible outcomes that were far beyond anything anyone could imagine.
This Christmas would you like a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit and to have your life changed in ways that you cannot possibly imagine?
What are your expectations of Christmas this year? What is it you hope for? Turn your eyes towards Jesus and all is possible.
Look for, and ask for, the things that you hope for and see what gift you receive. But it might just arrive in an unexpected way, through unexpected means.