It’s been a tough year for us all and so perhaps it’s time to look at an old story anew.

Of a miraculous child born to a disgraced young girl in a country under occupation.

Of a young couple far away from family and friends, having to deal with a medical emergency in a strange place.

Having to rely on strangers for help.

Being unwelcome and vulnerable.

Seeking shelter that was denied.

Giving birth in the dung, smells and bareness of a place fit only to house animals.

Of having to flee for their lives as refugees.

When God came down to earth it wasn’t like a Christmas card. It wasn’t cute or pretty. It was messy, human, and very real.#

That’s the point of when we say Emmanuel, which means 'God is with us'. God came into all our humanness and messiness. And God is still with us.  God is still here in this difficult year, in all our sadness, isolation and fear.

So let’s sing our hearts out  in defiance of all we have suffered this year, affirming the simple truth.

That even when the darkness comes the light can never be put out.