We think of Christmas as a time of year when people have places to go and are surrounded by good friends and loving family. I hope it's that way for you. But the first Christmas wasn't like that at all.
It is the story of a lonely, scared, unmarried and pregnant teenage girl about the age of 14, who on a long trip from home with a slightly older teenager she barely knew was forced to give birth to her child in a barn without the comfort and assistance of any medical personnel or even family members.
She must have felt totally abandoned and hopelessly forgotten. It was in this incredibly unlikely, unconventional and humble setting that God chose to deliver his message of love and he decided to do it by becoming a person.
If people feel abandoned and forgotten, they should be of good cheer. They are not alone and the one who identifies most with them is the one who can be of most help to them now.
Far better than a government bailout is a God bailout.
His doesn't mean that he removes the consequences of our actions from us or takes us out of all our circumstances. In fact, His approach isn't a bailout at all — it's a "bail in."
He doesn't always change the circumstances we face, but he bails right in the midst of us and promises that we will not be alone or abandoned.
Christmas is not so much our doing something for God, but his doing something for us: Coming to us and doing it in person.
I realize you might be Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or have no particular faith. It's not my intention to offend, but simply to explain why Christmas really means so much to those of us who are followers of Christ. It is a reminder that God does care and he comes to us and does it in person.
So accept from me a sincere and heartfelt Merry Christmas.
That's my view, I would love to hear yours. E-mail your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org