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When it comes to the season of Christmas many of us are filled with mixed emotions. We naturally look back to how life was before; when our parents were alive; when our children were young; when snow fell on Christmas Day; and when people seemed to be happier. These are natural emotions.

Today, we are constantly being told that Christmas is a time of celebration. But the world has changed so much that, sometimes, it is actually quite difficult to celebrate. And what exactly are we meant to be celebrating? With all the recent political uneasiness and increasing levels of poverty, there seems to be less and less to celebrate. So, why should Christmas Day be any different from the rest?

Well, Christmas Day should be a special day, different to all the others in the year, because on Christmas Day we remember the birth of a baby whose life would change the world: Jesus.
Like today, the birth of Jesus took place at a time of great uncertainty. The political rulers of the area were in turmoil and called for people to travel great distances to be registered. It was a bit like being involved in a general election; which always seems to happen at an inconvenient time. And, so, Joseph and Mary had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, in Judea. Their journey was long. Their arrival was unnoticed. And the town was busy; so busy that there was nowhere for them to stay.

No doubt exhausted, numb from the travel, and with their own mixed emotions, in the midst of the mayhem, Mary was about to give birth. Thankfully, someone saw sense and offered the homeless couple a place to rest: a stable, where, not too long afterwards the baby was born.
In circumstances reminiscent of today, a new life came. A new life which would shape the world. A new life born into difficult times. Yet, with all the problems that existed 'hope' emerged. And it is the cause of that 'hope' whose birth we remember and celebrate on Christmas Day. For, in that hope, we can know the joy of God through Jesus, God's son.

It's natural to reminisce at this time of year and think that life was better yesterday, compared to today. Every generation before us has said the same. But, just as the hope of Christ sustained the lives of our parents and grandparents, I pray that this same hope found in Jesus will sustain us all through the years to come: until we see our children and grandchildren grow up. And, surely, that is something worth celebrating.

I hope that this Christmas you will find time to reflect on the past but also to give God thanks for the present time. His gift of Jesus has brought hope to the world. I pray you can share in that hope and celebrate.
With every blessing,

With every blessing. Graham