Our theme for 2023 has been, “Have faith in God.” At Christmas we see some wonderful examples of “people of faith” in the characters of the Christmas story. In around 1,000BC God promised King David a descendant who would one day bring real peace to the whole world – peace with each other through our peace with a loving God. But it was to be a journey of faith for God’s people.

In the Old Testament we read of the years between David and Jesus and the turmoil of the history of Israel. Jesus’ family tree is not a spectacular list of great faithful people. Rather, it is a litany of many people who chose not to follow God, and only a few scattered names of those who were faithful to Him. But it was these faithful few who “held the line” of the promise of God that One would eventually come among us, One known as the “Prince of Peace.”

This year we see soldiers again patrolling the country of Israel, as did Roman soldiers when Jesus was born. Now, as then, we see innocent children treated as simply collateral damage in other people’s business. But through all of this – the rush and bustle of life, God recognized in the ones and twos those who were faithful to Him.

They ranged from a humble tradesman and his wife, through the religious elite to foreign royalty. At each level of society God had those who chose to remain faithful to Him. And they became a part of the greatest story in history: the coming of the One, born of a woman, Emmanuel – “God with us.”

May this Christmas be special to you as you consider your connection with the faithful of God. And may you grow in your faith in 2024.