This Christmas many of us will be spending quality time with family and friends. We will be sharing presents, consuming copious amounts of food and beverages, and generally having a fantastic time! In our culture this has become a huge part of what Christmas is about - and it's great. I'm happy to say, if all goes to plan, my Christmas will be much like this.
But there's a dark side to Christmas for many people! For those struggling finan-cially, Christmas can be a gateway to financial ruin; a time of spending far more than planned in this consumer driven environment. For others they will be on the receiving end of increased domestic violence over what is meant to be a "festive" season - for them it is anything but.
For new immigrants to New Zealand, or even those who have simply moved town, Christmas can be a sad and difficult time, reminding them of the good times "back home". For many Elderly, particularly widows and widowers, Christmas can be a very lonely time with no friends and family to share it with.
I could go on. The simple truth is that Christmas is great for many of us, but it's not great for everyone! That's why it's so important for us to remember the real reason that we celebrate Christmas. It rings from the familiar words of many Christmas car-ols and can be summarised in this line, "Joy to the world, the Lord is come!". The birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is not some popular myth and it's far more than a religious notion, it's the power of God reaching into our world to bring us all hope and a future. My prayer is that we will ALL have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.