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Christmas for a lot of people is a time of expectancy. Expecting presents, expecting visitors, expecting to go away for the holidays or not, expecting to spend the holidays with family and friends or not, expecting lovely hot summer weather.
This is, the season of expectancy.
Some two thousand years ago there was a sense of expectancy for a Saviour to free and deliver the Jewish people from the hands of the oppressive Roman rulers.
That expectancy was written into the very fabric of Jewish history, which for us in 2018, is recited and retold in the pages of the Bible as prophetic truth from the prophet Isaiah.
The Christmas story most Christians are familiar with, but not everyone knows, is the additional aspect - the story of miracles. It was a miracle that a young unmarried woman, Mary, who by the way was a virgin, was expecting her first child. Her older relative, who was unable to have any children until that time, Elizabeth, was also expecting her first child. Both women were expectant mums.
Today, for most mothers, the lack of provision for their families at Christmas is not something one imagines could happen, but it does.
There is a bigger gap - which continues to increase each year, between the rich and the poor and an unequal, unfair distribution of resources. How much are we, as New Zealanders, expecting the same Saviour to come and deliver us from the oppressive hands of modern-day financial rule?
Everyone expects to be merry and joyous at a time like Christmas, and for most people the birth of a baby is good news to tell others.
Jesus, for most Christians, is that baby, the son of God.
Humankind was not expecting the way in which the Saviour of the world was born and they were not expecting how and to whom he would be born. But we forget that He did not remain as a baby for the past two thousand years. He grew up and at 33 years of age took up various roles as equipper, teacher, mediator, preacher, pastor, friend, healer, the list goes on.
He was crucified for claiming the truth that He was the Son of God. Yes, He died for telling the truth.
For many Christians, Christmas is more than us celebrating time off from work or school. It is about a God whose love for us superseded our own expectations. So much so, that it is hard to comprehend that He came to Earth, born as a baby, to live among people.
For each individual, Christmas is different, for we all interpret Christmas through our own experiences and beliefs.
For Christians, Jesus is the reason for the season.
Not everyone gets to celebrate Christmas. In fact some people think of Christmas as the worst time of the year. Why? Because someone they have loved has died, or they have lost their job or lost good health or lost something so valuable to them. Instead of celebration, there is a sense of loss.
I want to say that the Bible tells us that no matter what circumstance or situation you are in, God is with you. He always will be. I believe the biggest challenge for us is believing in that promise. That promise sustains me when the tough gets going and the going gets tough.
My Christmas is never the same from one year to the next, but I know that if I seek support, I can trust God because He holds me in the palm of His Hand. Scripture says nothing can snatch me from the palm of His hand. John 10:28
Jesus was sent to save the world and as we wait, we are confronted with the expectation of the birth of believing in Christ in our own individual lives.
May Jesus be the reason for all seasons.
-The Rev Tekura Wilding is the minister of the Central Southland Presbyterian Church, Winton.