Christmas is always a day to look forward to with excitement and wonder: the cards, the carols, the decorations, the mood and the atmosphere leading up to 25 December.
In a sense, it is the anticipation and looking forward to two features of the season.
Firstly, who is coming this Christmas, and, secondly, what will be received. This was my view and expectation as a child, and it probably still is today.
In many ways, it is reflective of that very first Christmas in Bethlehem.
Mary and Joseph were overjoyed about the baby Jesus.
They would've also been wondering who was coming to visit them.
Their reality was harsh and cruel. For the safety of their baby, they fled to Egypt.
In our world today, there is much similarity with that first Christmas.
We all aim and hope for quality time with family, and we anticipate receiving a card or a present.
But sometimes, the reality does not always go as planned.
For some of us, Christmas is a sad time.
When a loved one passed away.
When redundancy took place.
When the budgeting failed miserably.
When mum and dad called it quits, and went their separate ways.
The list goes on and on.
However, Christmas is for you this year.
You are not alone. You are loved.
May this be a new season for you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Moderator Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand