The story is told of a poor widow who lived on the Balmoral Estate during the time of Queen Victoria. Falling into poverty after the death of her husband she found herself struggling to survive and fell behind with her rent. One evening there was a knock at her door, and fearing it was the debt collectors she didn’t answer. The knock was repeated a second time, and then a third. In fear and trepidation, she finally answered and to her surprise found a royal footman with baskets of provisions and sacks of coal. But more than that, in the carriage outside was Queen Victoria herself. She had come in person! She spoke with the poor widow and comforted her on the loss of her husband. For the rest of her life the widow would tell the story of this amazing visit, and the part that she would always emphasise was not the gifts of food and coal, but the fact that the Queen had come in person.
This Christmas many of us will have the excitement of both giving and receiving gifts. But may we not forget that in the birth of Jesus we celebrate the fact that the Heavenly King of Kings came to visit us in person.