Preparing for Christmas was so exciting, especially for children. Leading up to the big day there were decorations, parties, carol singing, wrapping up presents, until at last - Christmas day! One long explosion of delight!
As a child I don’t remember much about it being Jesus’ birthday, except that we had to listen to the Bible story being read before we had any presents, but then – oh, the excitement. In the afternoon the aunts and uncles came and mysteriously Uncle Hedley disappeared and then, there was Father Christmas himself ringing the doorbell.
We had been taught that Father Christmas was not true, but even so, we were thrilled. Then fun and games and a wonderful supper, but eventually it was all over.
Boxing Day was all right. Playing with our new toys, and always ‘Thank-you’ letters to write. I enjoyed that. Maybe I was a writer, even then. Hopefully we had been given some books, and some new game to play, but even so, the days seem long and dull after the excitement of Christmas.
Christmas has been very different this year, but even so for me it has been a wonderful time and now - back to normal. Only life is not normal any more, yet God is seeking to teach me, in this new norm, to learn to be content.
It was definitely a new normal for the folk who lived in Bethlehem, once Jesus was born. It was some of them who had driven Joseph and Mary from their doors, but after being wakened by the shepherds, shouting to the house tops of the angelic host coming to announce the joyful tidings, do you think that Baby was left, lying in a manger, the parents still homeless?
I love to picture the children begging their parents to be able to go and see this very special baby, and then of course would come the pleading,
‘Mum, couldn’t we make room for them? Couldn’t we? Please?’
We know that somebody made room and gave them a home, for by the time the wise men arrived the star was over a house and for a few months the family were yes, at home in Bethlehem.
And now, as we all have to return to our new normal, there is someone who stands
at our door and knocks, and to us is given the wonderful privilege of welcoming Jesus, not only to come in as a guest, but to be at home with us.
When visitors come we might need to tidy away some of the magazines or maybe videos, but if someone has come to stay we want to make sure that their choice becomes our choice because we will be doing life together. If Christ is to be at home in our hearts the new normal may not necessarily be easy, but it will be very precious.
May our new norm in 2021 be to know Christ making his home in our hearts through love, with all the wonderful blessings that this relationship must bring.
NEW YEAR 2021
If we’d known all that loomed in this year that is past
Would we dared have stepped out of the door?
But now older and wiser for all we’ve been through
We need God as never before.
For He is the one who alone knows the way -
Who leads and protects through the storm
He’s the Shepherd, who’s promised to care and to guide,
In pandemic, or in life at its norm.
So we’re praying for joy, whate’er lies ahead
(Just a day at a time is life given)
And peace as we trust in our Father above
And pray for the Kingdom of Heaven.