Christmas Highs and Lows

I once asked some friends to share their stories of Christmas highs and lows. Here are some of them:

Christmas lows

  • The one where the oven broke half way through cooking the turkey. 
  • The one where the turkey didn’t defrost because the house was so cold.
  • The one where all the children had nits.
  • The one where the 4 year old got lost at a Christmas tree festival.
  • The one where I collected mum from the hospice to share her last Christmas dinner with us.
  • The one with the COVID rules when we didn’t see anyone.

Christmas highs

  • The kids’ faces opening presents.
  • My son riding his bike up and down the street in his pyjamas.
  • Singing “Joy to the World” on Christmas day with my church family.
  • My 15 month old saying “WOW” when we turned the lights on in the Christmas service.
  • Drinking a glass of sherry with mum watching Downton Abbey, seeing her warm and smiling.
  • The one with the COVID rules when we didn’t have to see the in-laws!

Christmas is like that: the highs and lows are so often squished right up next to each other. 

The first Christmas was like that too. Luke 2:1-20 is full of Christmas highs and lows.

It starts with the lows:

  • Caesar in charge, a country under foreign occupation, a census decreed, ordinary people’s lives uprooted.
  • Mary and Joseph, pregnant and unmarried, travelling alone, surely wondering if they were mad to believe the extraordinary news they heard from the angel. “Why would God choose us to bring his son into the world? We don’t have a room, never mind a crib – and me a carpenter!”
  • Night shift shepherds, living on the edge of things, always looked down on, usually the last to know.

Yet these are the people God deliberately chooses.

It moves to the highs:

  • Caesar, ruler of a superpower, is just an instrument in the hands of the Almighty God who has chosen this moment to reveal himself more clearly than ever before.
  • Into the most unlikely place imaginable, a baby is born who will change history and radically transform the lives of all who trust him.
  • Better than a Strictly final or a New Year’s Eve firework display, humble shepherds who’d never even experienced electricity get a cosmic light show. The heavenly host arrives to tell them “Good news of great joy, today in the town of David a Saviour is born to you!”

I love the “to you!”  There’s no room for doubt. We’re not here to tell the sheep, or the person next to you, we’re here to tell you – this is a Saviour for YOU!

Jesus has come from the highest of heights and stepped into the lowest of lows.

When the dinner is ruined, our kids mess up, our plans don’t work out, we’re broken hearted in the present or fearful for the future, Christmas offers lasting hope because it offers us a saviour. Jesus came to beat sin and offer us new life with him forever. He will never leave us, walking with us through every low until the day he takes us to our home on high. Because of him, we can know the great heights of God’s love for us, the joy of forgiveness, the certainty of belonging in his family and a place at the table of heaven.

Mary ponders, treasuring this truth in her heart. Whatever highs or lows your Christmas holds, take a moment to do the same, remembering that this good news is for YOU.