It’s December the 24th …

… and I’m trying to work out where 2018 has gone.

Our community Christmas carols event has been and gone again, already, and that for us, really signals that the year is almost wrapped up – once again.

There are presents to be wrapped, cards to be written and if I’m honest, presents still to be bought and a few groceries to be purchased too.

The goal this year has been to keep it all under control, to avoid that frantic gift buying that, at this point each year, sees me thinking that everyone needs “just one more little thing”. This year we are each buying for one family member – we had a vote, we decided this was the way to go – however over the past few days I’ve been struggling a little with this largely self imposed restriction. Part of it is that I think I might love giving gifts, the other part is this time of year is a bombardment of things/stuff that your loved ones; might want, do want or, would want if they knew it existed. However, after all the dust settles on Christmas morning or afternoon — what is left behind is a mountain of discarded wrapping paper, cards, half sticky sticky-tape and a pile of new things that now need a home.

IMG_1061.JPGYesterday I found myself riding that wave again … maybe I should just get one more thing. Thankfully in the back of my mind was the message my husband gave at the aforementioned carols night, I’m going to include the text here – it was one of those messages that came out of a big discussion we had as he prepared for the evening.  Truth be told, it happened on the day, he had a whole other message ready to go — but two of his most trusted critics, myself and someone reading this right now – you know who you are … thought maybe it wasn’t yet quite the right message.  Every extrovert needs to know a good introvert or two … and every introvert needs a good extrovert. ( Yes, I said one..! 😉 )

Before I hand over to him — yesterday in my processing time I realised two things:

  1. The need to buy “one more thing” stems from the desire to ensure that no one walks away from Christmas disappointed …
  2. Christmas is about joy, hope, peace — if we walk away from Christmas feeling disappointed, then we’ve made it about something else.

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And with that, I direct you to Scott’s message: He may have used a little poetic licence with dates, and I may have edited a little but the message remains the same.

 


 

Who loves Christmas?

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of ours was doing some Christmas shopping and came across a mum who was trying to deal with her little girl chucking a tantrum because she wasn’t allowed to get the things she wanted. The mum got so overwhelmed by it all that she pretended to call Santa to tell him to cancel Christmas because her child was being so naughty … Now I am going to assume that in a week or so, that kid will still get some great gifts … even if she doesn’t deserve them.

You see, I think this is part of why we love Christmas so much … I think there is something in our hearts that draws us to Christmas … and part of this is a little word HOPE.

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The hope that we won’t get what we deserve.

The hope that the bad things we may have done have been forgiven and forgotten.

The hope that those arguments and differences we’ve had with others can be put aside even for just a day.

We all know that we haven’t been perfect but we still HOPE to have a wonderful time at Christmas.

Let me take you back to 1984 … I was 10 years old … Let’s just say, it wasn’t my finest year! My family lived on a Lucerne farm in the Lockyer Valley and our only source of drinking water was from rain water tanks. They were old, corrugated-iron water tanks that were getting a bit rusty … all part of the taste!

For some strange reason, and I still don’t know what was going on in my head, I decided to use the water tank as a dart board. So, I was throwing darts at the tanks and if they hit a rusty spot, they stuck in. And this seemed fun. The problem was, when I pulled them out, a little spout of water would shoot out. Let’s just say my mum and dad weren’t impressed with my dart throwing skills.

If that wasn’t bad enough, later that year, my sister and I decided to prank call the emergency services and tell them there were fires happening at our friend’s farms. A visit to the police station and getting to meet some very angry policemen was enough to deter me from trying that prank ever again. And once again my mum and dad were, let’s just say, a little disappointed in me. As I said, it wasn’t my finest year!

However, something weird happened at Christmas time … this thing called Hope emerged again. I certainly wasn’t deserving of anything … maybe I should have got a lump of coal for Christmas.

Yet that Christmas I received one of the best presents ever … the thing I most wished for – TEST MATCH!

Do you remember your favourite Christmas? What happened to make it that way? Was it the gifts? Or was it the holiday time with family? Was it the great feast you had?

I am pretty sure it wasn’t because you’d had a perfect year… In fact maybe it was one of the worst years for you and yet Christmas brought hope and peace and joy …maybe this year has been the worst year for you, and you are not looking forward to Christmas at all … but somewhere deep inside of you there is still that hope that things are going to get better.

You see this is why Christmas day is one of the most significant days in history … the day Jesus Christ was born.

Christmas day didn’t get cancelled because we were bad.

Christmas day exists because we are bad!

God loved us so much that He gave as a gift his son Jesus.

He was born into this world as a little baby – and He was given the name “Jesus” because He came to save us from our sins (our dart-throwing and prank-calling; our ‘badness’). The bible tells us that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. God loved us so much that He became one of us; to be like us; to experience life like us; and to live life perfectly because we can’t.

And He is the best gift we can receive.

You see we are part of God’s ultimate story…that is why that within us, no matter what we have done or who we are, there is Hope because of Jesus. Jesus Himself said,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come.”

God has given us the best gift; in fact He has given us the only gift we need – and that is Jesus.

Our prayer for you this Christmas season is that you will think seriously about Jesus, because it is His birthday we celebrate.

Please consider who He is, what He has done for you and your part in God’s ultimate story.


 

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