You don’t need me to tell you that our world has faced unprecedented levels of disruption these past several months. At times, it feels like we’re living on the film set of an apocalyptic movie. The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us of our fragility in the midst of an ever-changing, and challenging, world and Christmas looks as though it just won’t be the same.

It’s been quite interesting to read headlines in recent weeks such as ‘Boris saves Christmas’ or ‘The government saves Christmas’ as if it was anything to do with them!  The headlines couldn’t be more wrong. Christmas saves us.  Because the Christmas story reminds us of a living God who sent his son into the world, born as a babe in a manger, to be our Saviour.  This season of Advent also reminds us that Jesus will return as both Lord and King.  What is there not to celebrate?

The Christmas story brings something which seems to be in short supply in our world in these challenging times and that is hope. Hope, I believe, is one of the most important gifts God gives to us and it is a gift that we can share with the world around us. Some of you will know that I’ve been posting a Bible verse on social media (Twitter and Facebook) every day for the past couple of months, which includes the word ‘hope’ as a reminder that there is always hope when God is on our side and we put our trust in Him.  But have you ever thought that God has hopes for you this Advent season?

  • God hopes you will believe in Jesus, so that He can give you meaning and purpose day by day.
  • God hopes you will allow him to safely guide you each step of your journey through life.
  • God hopes you will trust in His Word to enable you grow in your faith.
  • God hopes you will find all your hopes and expectations fulfilled in Jesus.

But so many miss the joy the season brings as they run around frantically – especially because the shops have been closed for so long. We even have names for shopping days during Advent: Black Friday, Panic Saturday and Manic Monday.  Really!

We often say that the world is different in these COVID 19 days and because the world is so different, can I encourage you to plan differently this year? Can I encourage you to make every effort to celebrate and, in your celebration, find time to glorify and praise God for all you will hear and see this Christmas?  If you lie locally you can join us at Emmanuel, details of Christmas services can be found here but there’s bound to be church services near where you live – check them out on Google!

May God’s richest blessing be upon you and your family this festive season and I pray that you will blessed with the spirit of Christmas, which is peace; the gladness of Christmas, which is hope; and the heart of Christmas, which is love.

Please be assured of my prayers for all of you in these challenging times.

Be safe and be blessed.