Christmas is a Time of Gathering. As families, as communities, as faithful people. Mary and Joseph were faithful and gathered with their community in Bethlehem. The Shepherds and Kings gathered to worship the baby that was born to be Saviour of the World because they were faithful to the messages they received.
During our year, we may not have been faithful all the time - to friends or family, neighbours or strangers. We may have found it hard to remain faithful to a promise or a plan for whatever reason. Jesus came in order that we might be forgiven and be granted a life that is more faithful and a future full of blessing and joy.
Christmas is also a time of giving and receiving of gifts. These gifts might be big or small, they could be of our time or our talents but in order for them to be as valuable as the gifts of the Wise Men, they need to be given out of love and joy.
It reminded me of the John Lewis advert from 2011 - a small boy waiting eagerly for Christmas. His impatience is not to get presents though, but to give them. His Joy is in giving and seeing the joy in others.
It is my prayer this Advent that you may be filled with Joy this Christmas and that in remembering the birth of Jesus you will be reminded of the gifts that God has given you and continues to give you as you grow in faith.
May the joy of the angels,
the eagerness of the shepherds,
the perseverance of the wise men,
the obedience of Joseph and Mary,
and the peace of the Christ-child
be yours this Christmas.