Christmas and more

Christmas 2008

It's fascinating how Christmas can be a time when we find it easiest to forget about God.

In buying presents, going to boxing day sales, visiting houses with elaborate and colourful lighting and decorations, attending gatherings, and even taking part in church activities, your mind is filled; there is no longer space for what is unseen, no opportunity to reflect, no time to quieten down and acknowledge God as God.

Our Christmas play this year was, in many ways, flawed and cheesy. Nevertheless, it was an important reminder to us all that Christmas is to celebrate the arrival of Jesus and the work he was about to begin on Earth. The day is not simply a tradition, a festival, a day off work, present giving and card writing time, or family time (although these are all good things to have). And most definitely, Santa, reindeers, elves and snow angels are not the focus of Christmas (although these in themselves are harmless too).

Counting blessings

At church we have an annual thanksgiving night at the end of each year. Indeed if you think hard enough, there are indeed many blessings to thank God for. I won't list them here. But to summarise, the best blessings for the year were hope and joy, whatever the circumstances. This was the song that reminded me of my blessings:

1) Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.

He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

2) Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow'r.

The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

3) Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.

Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till with Christ the Lord I stand.



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