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Where will you be this Christmas?

16 December 2021

Where will you be this Christmas?

Christmas – the story of a God who chooses to be present

Words Anthony Hunt

As I recently reflected on Christmas celebrations over the years, what stood out was not the gifts, not the food (which in my family is a big deal!), but the time spent together as family. 

My favourite Christmas memory started a few days before Christmas, sometime in the mid-’90s. My brother Christopher had become quite ill, and my parents took him to the local hospital emergency department. An inflamed appendix was discovered, and he had an emergency appendectomy on Christmas Eve. 

Christmas morning was much more sombre in my house that year because Christopher was in hospital, and I think perhaps Mum had spent the night there. The day was stinking hot, and this was before the advent of widespread air-conditioning in the house, so that just added to the general downbeat tone of the day. 


Eventually, we got a phone call saying Christopher could come home. We picked him up as a family and we celebrated Christmas as a family in my parents’ room – the one room of the house that had air-conditioning. Christmas lunch was eaten in there, presents were opened there – I am even sure the dog got to eat her food there, too. I do not remember the presents, or the particular food, but I remember that we were together and present as a family. 

I understand that, for some people, Christmas and family can be a highly tense affair. Perhaps there is someone else in your life who needs you to be present for them this Christmas? Try to find that person and be present for them. Your company may be the thing they need to know that they are loved and cared for. 

I know a lot of parents feel the pressure to fill that endless Christmas list given to them by their children. Some parents fill it out of genuine affection, others out of not wanting their kids to go without as they may have done, or perhaps others who, for any number of reasons are absent throughout the year. 

May I suggest that, while the disappointment your child may feel if you don’t get them the latest and greatest will subside, the disappointment of not having you present with them can last a lifetime.


The Christmas story is the story of a God who chose to be present in the story of humanity. Around the world at Christmastime, Christians will gather to celebrate the great mystery of the birth of Jesus – that the eternally divine chose to come in the form of a helpless infant to be present in the story of his people. 

The stories of the gospels [in the Bible] tell us of Jesus who was present with people in their suffering, with those whose lives had been torn asunder by illness, war, and death itself, and with those trying to live their best life. 

If you’d like to learn more about Jesus, find a local Salvos church this Christmas season, check out the link below. And in the meantime, I challenge you to read the first two chapters of the Bible’s Gospel of Luke to begin to discover the good news of great joy that is for all people.

For more information on the Salvos’ Christmas services, events, stories, and messages, go to

Lieutenant Anthony Hunt is a Salvation Army officer (pastor) in Queensland


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