One of my earliest recollections of Christmas is my last in Adelaide - at the age of four: I was given a tricycle with a battery-operated horn. Having arisen at 5.30 am I proceeded to flatten the battery of the horn over the course of the next hour, much to the chagrin (and patience) of our neighbours. (Funny, I never remember the battery being replaced?!)
It is memories like these that feed our understanding of Christmas. Most Christmas publicity is heavy with words like joy, happiness, and fun, which might lead us to think that the season is only for those who have no burdens to bear, no sadness.
In Isaiah 42 we read the following words: "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out", as Isaiah describes the character of God's Messiah. It is a passage to which Matthew refers in chapter 12 to describe Jesus' messianic ministry. It is a reminder that the coming of Jesus brings comfort and consolation, care and nurture, and thus providing a reason for celebration.
In our celebration of Christmas, let us not only take time to remember those who are tender because life's experience has been harsh, but let us also find a way to express the comfort and consolation which the coming of Jesus brings.
December 15, 1996