What Do You Expect This Christmas?

 What do you expect this Christmas? Society has painted a picture of a happy family gathered around the dinner table by the Christmas tree.  Abundance prevails – gifts, food, laughter and love. This may be the reality for a few, but not for all of us.

Years ago, Bing Crosby sang “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.” Loneliness, sickness, grief, job loss, hunger and more, do not disappear just because we’ve flipped our calendars to December. Our Christmas story reminds us that on the first Christmas, Jesus was born into poverty, not abundance – in a stable, not the Best Western, and far from home. And yet I am sure there was abundance – the abundance of love and joy that can come  with the birth of a baby. Christmas is the celebration of love and new life in the midst of whatever life offers at the moment. There is truly no ideal Christmas for us to expect.

Instead, each year at Christmas, we receive the peace, hope, joy and love that come from new beginnings. Regardless of our circumstances, even if we are in the midst of deep sorrow, anxiety, fear, we can expect God’s presence among us. We can open our hearts and feel God’s love enfold us. We can pick up a baby, hug a loved one, drop money in a Salvation Army bucket, bring a meal to someone in need. We can expect God’s presence on the street, at the food bank, in the palace, in our homes.

When we expect to meet God, we will.  God is always with us, in the people we meet. All we need do is open our eyes, our ears and our hearts. God will come in stranger, enemy, friend.

I suggest that you expect an opportunity to hold the Christ-child this Christmas. Let me know how Jesus came to you this year. Your experience will be a blessing to me. Thank you.

One thought on “What Do You Expect This Christmas?”

  1. The hope of Christmas brings many people together to celebrate the Christmas Story. It has become a way to give hospitality and gifts and food in abundance to those who have more than enough and to those who don’t have anything.

    What boggles my mind and heart…is the way many people listen and witness the story and make a huge fuss over the cute little baby in the hay.

    For me, the Christmas story is about how God comes to life in that Barn. There the theologically astute angels and the worldly demons are gathered. The Innkeeper’s wife is run off her feet carrying food out to them and out there some woman is sitting at the innkeeper’s feet.

    Meanwhile Jo’s Cephas a.k.a. the Barn abba is muttering to himself saying: If this man this great Rabonni who those demon Greeks see as Alexander the Great and the God Apollo were really a prophet and full of light he would tell us “how” this woman is a sinner!

    God comes to life in that Barn to let the world know…humanity is God’s only begotten child and everyone can be born again and again and again. Peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and new beginnings are possible for those who can let go of their old prejudices and their fear of dying and the pain of beginning something new when they are old and run off their feet worrying and catering to the needs of guests.

    New beginnings are possible for those left out in the cold on Christmas or after…they are invited in all year round, not just at Christmas and Easter. It’s up to them to respond and listen to God’s encouraging word come alive and watch for a way they too can contribute to the peace and happiness of themselves and others as each of us learns what it means to be a child of God.

    A new baby lets many feel there is hope. For others, a new baby spells disaster to their house that looks and feels like an overstuffed shoe!

    So what’s an old mother who lives in a shoe to do?

    Merry Christmas Janet. I’m so glad I met you when you visited St Andrew’s Wesley United Church a few weeks ago. Thanks for inviting me in to your on-line community with your thought provoking post.

    Yours in Faith, Linda

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