Mixed emotions this Christmas? Here's our Curate Charles with this week's blog post and a reminder that even the very first Christmas had it's fair share of challenge and celebration.
A typical greeting of the season is to wish someone a 'happy' or 'merry' Christmas. This greeting celebrates the joy of the season.
In the Christmas story, joy is one of the natural responses that people have when they meet Jesus.
We see joy in the characters of Elizabeth and the unborn John the Baptist when they greet Mary who is carrying Jesus within her. We see it in the shepherds coming to meet the newborn King and begin to spread the word, praising God. We are told that the wise men were 'overjoyed' when they saw the star stop over the place that Jesus was born.
However, when we look closer at the Christmas story, we realise that joy isn't the only emotion that the people would have felt during the events surrounding Jesus' birth.
We see the fear and anxiety of the people of Bethlehem and the surrounding areas, in response to Herod's jealousy of Jesus and his plot to put him to death. We see Mary and Joseph's anxiety, fleeing as refugees when they hear of this threat too.
Joy is not the only emotion present at Christmas.
We may indeed feel joy at different parts of the celebration of Christmas this year. Perhaps during times with family and friends or maybe at school or church events. All these things may bring joy.
But a different kind of joy is also available to all at Christmas. This is a joy which can coexist with the feelings we have when faced with the challenges and opportunities of this world. And this joy can come to us even when our Christmas isn't 'picture perfect' and the festivities do not bring the same joy that they may have in different circumstances.
Christian joy is available to everyone and anyone no matter what their circumstances are.
The source of this joy is the newborn King Jesus who comes to live with us and in us, as we remember how he entered the world, with its darkness and difficulty, to bring us light, hope and life.
This is the kind of joy we point to when we wish others a 'Happy Christmas!'
So, I'd like to wish you a 'Happy Christmas' as you continue to discover the joy that Jesus brings to this world.
Find out more about our Christmas services here