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by Herman Groenewald

Christmas to me has always been a family time to celebrate the birth of Christ, going to church together and sharing a Christmas dinner.

It has always brought to my mind those left out in the cold, on the streets of cities and towns sleeping under carboard boxes without food. Many a time I joined a few friends to take food to these street people late on Christmas night in the middle of Johannesburg.

It helps me to remember that Jesus was first seen by ordinary people, the shepherds in the fields. For many years I have worked amongst the informal settlement people of Lanseria sharing the good news on a Sunday. The news of great joy for everyone.  Luke reminds us.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

However so many people today still do not know about the good news or the true meaning of Christmas. It is a continued reminder about sharing the news to those without, the avenues are many.

For a number of years, before moving overseas our daughter would arrange presents for some of the children in the Lanseria informal settlement and we would then have a party with them on Christmas morning.

Christmas also brings to my mind what the shepherds did after seeing the Christ child.

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 

The importance to me of Christmas is the sharing of the message of Good News and the Glory of God and that here is a celebration in heaven when it happens.

 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”



Herman Groenewald

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