“Dear Friends, I wrote this initially to the members of my congregation. However, I felt led to share it with you all.
Today is Thursday, it is Christmas Eve! Even now I get excited about Christmas Eve! And you may ask why?
Well, where I come from (Chile) summer is already in full flow, and people are making preparations for a family meal on Christmas Eve. Most families get together at around 22:00 to start the Christmas family dinner.
I remember my mum and my sisters working in the kitchen during the afternoon making everything ready and Dad and I making sure that the patio and the house were clean. The Christmas tree on full flow and around 23:59, mysteriously some gifts appeared under the tree.
Mum made a tradition that we would invite a family member or a friend who lived alone every Christmas Eve, so the house was full. Then at 00:00, the local church bells began to ring, announcing that Christmas day had arrived.
My dad, and later I, was asked to pray and give thanks for another Christmas and then we would exchange presents. It was usually really late when we went to sleep only to wake up a few hours later to realize that Christmas Day was not over. It was just starting with a larger family and friends gathering for a big barbeque under the shining hot summer day. Many other families go to the countryside or even go to the beach.
When Christ was born, he was surrounded by some animals; he only had Mary and Joseph. But soon a host of friendly faces, shepherds, who came to see this baby boy. The Angel told them he is the Lord, Saviour and Messiah. All the shepherds were then moved to their core as they heard a host of angels singing praises to Jesus. After them, another group came from the east bringing expensive gifts to the Son of God. They came following the Star, and they came to worship the new King.
Suddenly a family of three became much more than that. Friends came to celebrate the birth of God’s Son. This is my prayer, some of you are going to be alone this Christmas because of the Covid19 restrictions, I want you to know that even though some of us can’t be together, you are in my prayers. That you are not alone, and God’s family wants to bless you with all the riches given to us in Christ. Some of you will be with your families, and my prayer is that you will experience the outpouring of God’s love, protection and rest. Some of you will struggle this Christmas, and there is going to be an empty seat at your Christmas dinner. My prayer is that you will know God’s outpouring of compassion, comfort and grace. My prayer is that you will experience the peace and grace of the Lord.
When I think of Jesus’ birth, I think of his promises to us when he said I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU.