To quote Noddy Holder ‘It’s Chriiiiiiiiiisssssstmaaaaassss’ (nearly).
What are your expectations of Christmas? We very often have this lovely ‘Christmas card’ image in our mind of snow, Christmas trees, angelic children singing carols, a beautiful lunch, perfect gifts etc etc … but for most of us the reality is a bit different.
The ship had deployed to the Arabian Gulf in Oct, so we were away for Christmas. Thankfully we were able to have a ‘stand down’ for the actual Christmas / New Year period and were alongside in Dubai for a week or so. Definitely no snow, but a good opportunity to at least make phone calls home etc … so not too bad at all. The expectations were high, but of course tinged with sadness as we were separated from our families.
Christmas day came, we had our ships Church service in the Dining Hall, and then each mess had their secret Santa, then it was lunch .. always served by the Officers of course, and they always came up with a great meal (I have to add they didn’t cook it, the chefs still did that bit thankfully). That was all fine, but then the afternoon got quieter and you started to think more about what was going on at home. At some stage of the day most of us took ourselves away somewhere on our own and opened presents from home .. that was always a bit difficult, as it really brought home the separation. This particular Christmas I had opened my presents from home before the mornings Church service … in amongst the stuff from home was a box of sweets and included was a kit-kat. Now, I don’t have a massive sweet tooth, but am partial to a kit-kat.
I had planned my day so that late afternoon, once it had cooled off a bit I was going to go out for my regular run. Can’t remember exactly how far I did, but probably 6 miles, and as I was running I kept thinking about that kit-kat … and was really looking forward to it (there had been no kitkats in the NAAFI for weeks)! So after a shower, I sat in my cabin and unwrapped it … only to find it was made of rubber and was a trick one provided by my loving wife … Expectations shattered!
One of the things about the Christmas story is that the whole thing was expected .. it should not have come as a surprise to anyone … Jesus had been spoken of (well not by name, but as the Messiah or son of God etc) who was going to come into the world (if you go to the traditional style carol service you will hear these passages read out). It was all there in the Jewish holy scripture (or the Old Testament as we know it now in the Bible). BUT they had kinda misinterpreted it and were expecting a king to come at the head of an army and throw out the Romans … that was what they expected. It didn’t happen like that, Jesus came as a baby to experience what it’s like to be a human .. so he could fully stand with us in all our experiences and emotions. The promised ‘saviour’ was not coming to free them us physical oppression but to bring hope for peace and freedom on a ‘spiritual’ level … hope for a future, an expectation that once put right with God,whatever our situation we would be at peace with our creator God, and spend eternity with him The expectation that death no longer held any power …
So whatever your expectations of Christmas are this year, I pray that you will not be let down and find a rubber kit-kat but experience the true peace that comes from an ongoing relationship with God through Jesus .. don’t leave him in the manger ….
Until next time …. Cheers and blessings …
Image Credit: Chris Sowder