Gosh its hard to get into the Christmas mood. The older I get the faster time moves and start of the Christmas season arrives to some considerable annoyance. It’s an inconvenience and perhaps even more than that as I struggle to see my life accelerating to its end. Another year is over. Where did it go?

When I was younger and more crass than I am now, I used to joke that Jesus could not be born in our time because there would be no hope of locating three wise men or a virgin. Closer to the truth is that if a 14 year girl presented, heavily pregnant, we’d call the Department of Family and Community Services and a psychologist.

Maybe there was never room at the inn; maybe its always difficult to stop the normal business of life to remember that the most important of all gifts is small, present and under our noses. First time round it was a little baby, born to Trevor from Blacktown and Sharleen from Mount Druittt. The birth was announced to some labourers on a building site. Is anyone impressed? The baby was sleeping in an animal feedbox. What made the wise men was the care they took about where they stepped. There could be no chance that this was a “Silent Night” but rather into the chaos of the smell and the noise came such a powerful presence that we’re told the sky illuminated with angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest”.

This season can be an ugly chapter of overspending and overeating. It can also be a season of great joy. The difference is between presents and presence. The first Christmas happened with ordinary people saw the Divine in the ordinary. Emmanuel, God with us, in the least likely people and place. If we could stop business long enough to see the divine in our nearest and dearest, what a blessing that would be in any family. If we could see the divine presence in a homeless man or a street kid; if we could see the Almighty seeking to break into our world as the child of a boat person, gosh, I think the heavens would open up again and the angels would sing, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, goodwill to all people”.
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