It's not about the Glitter
As many of you will know, last Christmas my husband was in the middle of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for cancer. It was a gruelling time. And yet the build up to Christmas is supposed to be magical, shiny, special. I remember listening to a carol by John Rutter which evoked this sense of awe and majesty and wonder. And I felt pretty despondent. “It's not like that this year” I said to God in a slightly desperate way. I yearned for Christmases past that were full of excitement and joy and sparkle, rather than difficulty, pain and fear.
But God spoke to me really clearly (which, let's be honest he doesn't very often!). “I was born in a dark, damp, dingy stable Em” he reminded me. “There was no sparkle, no magical shininess, and in that context I came to earth to show people I love them.”
I don't know what kind of Christmas you are anticipating, or what this advent season holds for you. But I do know that the message of Christmas - God coming to earth to be with us - isn't dependent on us being able to embrace the excitement or joy of a magical Christmas time. It depends on a God who is love.