If you would like to read the original Christmas story, you will find part of it in the Gospel of Saint Matthew and part of it in the Gospel of Saint Luke.
Saint Luke’s version recounts the time when the angel Gabriel visited two people – Zecheriah and Mary – in order to give each one of them the good news that they were going to become a parent of a special baby.
Zecheriah’s son was going to be named John and his purpose in life was to prepare the way for the arrival of the Messiah into the world.
Mary’s son was going to be named Jesus and he was going to be the person whose arrival the Israelite people had been looking forward to for many years.
He was going to be the Messiah and he was going to do things which would improve people’s lives for ever. Now both Zecheriah and Mary were rather surprised by this news. Zecheriah and his wife were elderly and had felt that by that time they were too old to be parents.
Mary on the other hand was at the opposite end of the age spectrum. She probably would not have expected to have a child for some time yet. However in the end both parents took on the job that God had given them to do and did it well.
They realised that God has work for people to do and that people should agree to do that work to the best of their ability.
Both of them got an unexpected surprise – something that can happen to any of us at any time.
As we look forward to Christmas, I feel sure that we hope that it will be full of pleasant surprises for ourselves and for other people as well.