It’s the Christmas season! People are carefully selecting gifts for their loved ones, the air is filled with the sound of Christmas carols, bright Christmas lights sparkle each night, and many are looking forward to some time off with their family and friends.

For people of faith, this time of year is a reminder of God’s amazing love for the world demonstrated by sending his only Son as a baby – born to be the long-awaited Saviour of the world. Yes, Jesus came to bring peace, love and joy to a fallen and broken world. He still does, if we will only open our hearts to receive and then pass it on.

For some people, Christmas can be a time of grief as they are reminded of loved ones or things they have lost. Just over 10 years ago, my wife’s mother, affectionately known as ‘Oma’ (German for grandmother), passed away very suddenly after a battle with cancer. We were devastated. Then ten days later, our three teenage children and two of their friends were involved in a serious car accident. All of them spent New Year’s Day in the emergency ward of a hospital. What an incredibly traumatic time it was for our family and everyone involved.

These words from the Old Testament book of Lamentations (3:20-23) were meaningful to me at the time:

“I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” NLT.

Whatever your year has been like, with all of its joys and it’s pains, it’s ups and it’s downs, it’s laughter and it’s tears, my prayer is that you will have a meaningful Christmas and a relaxing holiday season. Know that you are deeply loved by God. He is with you and in him you have all you truly need.

Merry Christmas.

[Image above: Nativity, He Qi, ink and gouache on rice paper]