I was in a well known Alfreton supermarket last week and picked up one of my favourite snacks in a tube (other snacks are available of course!). For this year they have decorated the tubes with various Christmas themes, and the one that I picked up had Santa on it with "HOPE" written in big letters.
It got me to thinking about what people hope for at Christmas. Many young people I guess hope for lots of presents and chocolates, many are probably wondering if they have been good enough to make Santa’s "Good child" list.
As we get older perhaps what we hope for changes. In this exceptional year I wonder how many hope that they won’t get Covid, or hope that they will have a job or a livelihood next year, or hope that loved ones with the virus will survive. I have had a number of friends who have said "don’t buy me a present or send a card, instead put the money to charity" in the hope that others will benefit from our generosity. Covid certainly has had a big impact on our lives and outlook this year.
But if previous years are anything to go by then come Christmas evening the tube of snacks will be empty and thrown in the bin, toys that needed batteries that we haven’t got, will be left in the corner of the room unplayed with, along with the gift that we couldn’t put together because there was a piece missing or the assembly instructions were too complicated.
In the eating and drinking and present opening that that is our Christmas today, perhaps the whole true meaning of Christmas has been lost, that Jesus the Son of God came to us at this time of the year about 2000 years ago, bringing with Him HOPE. In that small little bundle of love we can find the HOPE of eternal life, the HOPE of salvation, the HOPE of being reconnected with God.
So while the PRESENTS get broken or out of date or become yesterdays toy, the PRESENCE of Jesus remains as fresh and as new and as strong as ever, as every day He offers us freely His gift of HOPE.
May God bless you and your families at this Christmas time.
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