Drought is hard to deal with - both for farmers and the businesses affected.
I am not a farmer myself, but before moving to Gunnedah this year, I was already experiencing six years of drought in the Lightning Ridge district. I saw some of the suffering from years of dry.
Sometimes I've heard people say, "What is God doing? Does he care? Why doesn't he send the rain?"
It's not a new question, of course - humans have been asking those questions for thousands of years - and Christmas is part of the answer. To illustrate, consider this story:
There was a Persian king, Shah Abbis, who loved his people. Sometimes he would go amongst them in disguise to understand them better.
One day he went as a poor man to the public baths and sat in the tiny cellar with the fireman, who tended the furnace. They shared their simple food talked to his lonely subject as a friend, sharing his joys and sorrows.
Finally, the king revealed his identity, expecting the poor man to ask for some gift. But the fireman sat gazing at his king and finally said: 'You left your palace and your glory to sit with me. You cared whether my heart was glad or sorry. You could give rich presents, but to me you have given yourself. I pray you never remove the gift of your friendship.'
Christmas is when we remember that the king of heaven - Jesus - became human and lived on earth amongst us (John 1:14).
Because of Christmas, we have confidence that God is not distant from us. He understands our joys and sorrows from personal experience. He can give us rich gifts, like rain. But it is even more precious for us to have a friendship with our king, and to live the journey of life with him.
Because of Christmas, we know God cares for us - he cares enough to live amongst us. But also to rescue all who trust him from all pain and sorrow one day.