Of course that’s the domain of adults, not children. For them, Christmas cannot come soon enough as they make their list for Father Christmas and excitedly await his arrival.
But as we all know, the much-anticipated presents don’t always live up to expectations; some take a long time to assemble only to find there is a piece missing, others bring short-term delight only to be put aside after the novelty wears off.
There is an emptiness associated with the material aspect of Christmas that can only be filled by experiencing the beauty and richness of the true meaning of the feast.
In stark contrast to the shallowness of material wealth, the celebration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem reaches into the very depths of our souls and the depths of our being.
Our worship of God is not about some strange way of trying to create a relationship with a God who exists at the other end of the universe far out in the constellations, cold and impersonal with no contact with us in our lives. Our God is a God who entered our world like us and accepted the limitations and indeed the imprisonment of our humanity.
Whatever happens to us, wherever we go, whatever hopes we have and anxieties we experience, whatever dreams are the centre of our lives and whatever elements we fear, Jesus Christ will be with us in the centre of our lives.
Each Christmas we celebrate our belief in Christ with hearts full of joy, but our eyes are wide open to the reality of our world and the reality of our lives.
Jesus Christ did not say to us when he came into the world that he would wrap us in cocoons and make it easy for us to live our lives. He came into the world so that we would be safe, so that at all times and every moment of our life, no matter what our experience – whether it be joy or grief or sin or anxiety – all we need do is turn to him in our hearts and he will respond to our pleas and come to our aid.
I pray that this Christmas you and your families will be blessed and that you will share in the deep joy and peace of knowing that Jesus Christ, who was born in Bethlehem, came to save us in such a beautiful and surprising way.