• Friends, as you read this article, I am currently recovering from being unwell, and so I am taking some time off. However, I wrote these words a number of weeks ago and wanted to share them with you as you step into the festive season.

CHRISTMAS has arrived. In the midst of the carol services, turkey and stuffing, the gifts exchanged and the Christmas sparkle, I love taking the time to read through the gospel of Luke, especially Eugene Peterson’s translation of John 1.

The Word became flesh and blood

And moved into the neighbourhood.

We saw the glory with our own eyes,

The one-of-a-kind glory, Like Father, like Son,

Generous inside and out, True from start to finish.

God became flesh and blood. Just as the prophets predicted four hundred years earlier, Jesus was born in a stable and “they called him Immanuel” (Matt 1:23), which translates as ‘God with us.’ 

I’m very aware that for many of us Christmas is a difficult time. So many head into this season without...

•Without our loved ones. 

•Without joy.

•Without our health.

•Without enough money to make ends meet.

Christmas for many of us isn’t about joy, cheer and good wishes. Yet in our season of ‘without,’ the Christmas story reminds us that God is ‘with’ us. He isn’t distant or unreachable; He moved into the neighbourhood; He moved into our pain, our brokenness, our questioning, our worry, our laughter and our tears. He moved in and the very Word of God became flesh. Oh, the mystery. 

Yet we are told that as Mary held Jesus “She pondered these things in her heart.” We aren’t told exactly what she pondered, but I wonder as Jesus slept and she held him close did she think to herself: “How can I do this? How can I raise this boy? How can all this be?”  

There is something beautiful in the Christmas story that calls us to believe and embrace mystery. To recognise and know that sometimes we have more questions than answers. There are times, as with Mary, that we need to rest, not just physically, but also rest in knowing that God is present. 

As you face this Christmas I hope and pray you learn to rest in knowing that God is still here and with us. I pray you catch a glimpse of His light, hope, peace and joy – even in the midst of hardship. 

Christmas blessings to you all.