The perfect Christmas?!

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From the Manse........

Christmas for many can be a difficult time with mixed emotions and feelings that are starkly at odds with all the expectations that abound. There are so many pressures at this time of year — perhaps the greatest being that much elusive perfect Christmas. To enjoy a Christmas where everything is just right, as it should be — a textbook experience.

To help try achieve that goal, an army of celebrities and commentators, from chefs to fashion gurus, tell us how to make our roast potatoes even crispier and our turkey's more moist and flavoursome, what we should wear and how to make sure that our Christmas goes without a hitch, planning every second and every moment of this special day. Each year it seems that they up the ante and expectations become increasingly unrealistic.

The irony of course, is that if everything were perfect then there would have been no need for Christmas in the first place. The fact that God in the form of a helpless baby was born amongst us was because we are not perfect, that we get it wrong and that we mess it up.

That first Christmas God quietly and silently slipped in among us, born into the messiness of our lives. He came as one of us so that in the end, we may be more like him.

From the Victorians to the modern-day advertising companies, there have always been those who try to sell us a perfect, make-believe Christmas and all that goes with it. However, in the real world in which we live, things go wrong, we muck it up, the unexpected happens, we are disappointed, things are not as we would want, tragedies take place and lives are turned upside down.

It is to and in these situations that the birth of Jesus speaks — that in our imperfection, in the maelstrom of life and with whatever we are grappling, he comes to us anew — bringing peace, love and hope and above all, the knowledge that we have not be abandoned.

Immanuel — God with us!

With much love and God bless this Christmas time,

Keith

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