We might think that this is “the Christmas we did not expect!” The year has taken us through many twists and turns, but none so unexpected as the pandemic. How this impacts us during December we wait to see.
‘Unexpected’ is a theme that runs through the tale of the very first Christmas. Who would have guessed that the eternal God would step into his world as he became man? Who would have thought that the birth of Jesus would be this way in the promised location of Bethlehem, the City of David? What a surprise that the first visitors would be ordinary shepherds? How amazing that a group of star gazers from the Far East would travel such a huge distance to meet the newborn king? Isn’t it staggering that Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary, who was a carpenter from Galilee, is the Son of God? How wonderful that his life of mercy and grace transformed many peoples’ lives in relieving suffering and transforming the way they lived? Who could have predicted that millions have become his followers since that time. Who would have guessed that the Bible continues to be the top seller of books worldwide as people discover more about Jesus? It’s all so unexpected.
The most unexpected of all events that we today call Christmas, has an unexpected purpose. It’s summed up in the words of the angel who spoke to the father Joseph who was in turmoil over what he should do about his betrothed who was expecting out of wedlock. Through a dream he was told: ‘do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save people from their sins’ (Matthew 1v20-21). God’s plan was to intervene in human history, to bring about a miraculous conception and birth of the man Jesus Christ. He came to rescue us from the very thing which spoils and corrupts but which we cannot ourselves control. Jesus is the one who reaches into our lives to change us. Now that is unexpected!
We are having to hold services online this year. That too is unexpected. But I hope we can expect you, our readers and many others, to join with us. Do check our website for details when published. We intend to celebrate Christmas whatever unexpected circumstances we find ourselves in. let’s make it memorable, even if unexpected!