Christmas is here again, one thing is for sure every year it comes around. Some of us love this season whilst others of us struggle and can get overwhelmed with all the parties, gift giving and general expectations to have a great time.
The good news is that Christmas is not all about the tinsel and parties but is a deeply sacred time where we can reflect on Gods presence coming amongst us. If we can take a moment to stop and think what is the real meaning behind all the celebrations then we may engage with a sense of perspective, becoming aware of God’s love extending to us.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah9:6-7
With God all things are now possible as his brings the possibility of reconciliation to himself and therefore to our relationships that we would like restored including a sense of reconciliation within ourselves. God is the author of restoration so if we connect with Him through the gift of his son Jesus we are touching into the why we have a Christmas season; the coming of Immanuel God present with us in our lives. Then all things become possible that we long for, all we have to do is believe in Jesus and his work.
I pray that we will all take a moment over this season to stop and think about what is impossible to us and invite God to journey with us into a land where all things are possible. I invite you to reflect on the things of God who has extended his love towards us and embrace a New Year full of his goodness.
Someone said those few words “look after yourself” and those few words have had me thinking for a few weeks about how we do that and the why we need to do it. I have discovered that when we look after ourselves we are then able to give love to others.
Love comes in many shapes and expressions. It is really up to us how much we access the ability to love from inside our hearts to then propel outward toward others. I think like many other things in life to flow in the ability to love is a choice we daily make. Some days we may have to choose to love ourselves first so that we can then love others.
Loving ourselves requires intentional awareness that the need is there to refuel or as the popular phrase reveals “have some me time.” This can be extremely difficult when under a lot of pressure and have a busy life. It will be the last thing you want or feel like doing but without the “me time” we will spiral and be no good for anything or anyone. It may not be appropriate to book a luxury spa or holiday or even hang out partying with friends in fact those things can produce guilt if you are. I find going for a walk alone down the street for thirty minutes can be amazing or finding a quite space and sit and read a book for ten minutes. I always carry a book with me for that reason.
I remember when my friend was very ill and dying in hospital many years ago at the time I was still in the party scene and thought I would let off steam by going out with a bunch of friends. It was the last thing I needed to be doing. I only ended up feeling ashamed and full of guilt. That wasn’t flowing in the ability to love either myself or anyone else. I learned a lesson that day of what was needed and what wasn’t.
We can have the ability to choose to love or not. The biggest challenge will come when there is a personal cost with it. I am not speaking of a financial cost although sometimes that is required, but rather the cost of time, energy a letting go of our own desires to put someone else first; that kind of cost. Jesus called this “loving your neighbour as yourself.”
Jesus often spoke about giving to those who can’t repay you or say thank you is actually really important. I have come to realise it is through those acts of love and kindness that our hearts are opened, our character is tested and formed and our skill set is developed and we gain strength on the inside. No personal challenge no personal growth. I don’t think there is any course that can teach you how to love. This one comes through opening our hearts to God and others and putting aside our own selfish desires. Then leaning into Christ we begin to understand the meaning of “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbour as yourself’ Mark 12:30-31
Remember to love yourself too in the midst of loving others.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Today is Christmas Eve the day when we can stop and think about the reason for Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ. Nineteen years ago I walked into a Church on Christmas Eve and gave my life fully to Christ. I invited him to come live with me as I travel through life.
Jesus Christ came into the world as the saviour of the world. He is known as the light of the world and brings everlasting life to those who choose to embrace him. Today I have been able to stop and stand still to look at the amazing gift of God to us. This gift being God himself coming to dwell on the earth in the form of mankind known to us as Jesus Christ.
As I stood in a Church this afternoon and lit a candle, prayed a prayer to dedicate my life afresh to Jesus I was reminded of being connected to the amazing story of Christmas and the person who invoked it. Christmas is where the sacred world of God meets the human world of us and I am so pleased that am able to know God and He knows me all because of the birth of Christ.
Christmas time is our opportunity to say hello to Christ.
A prayer for Christmas
As I stand and look for you this night. Bring love and hope into my heart.
Bring peace and comfort into my soul as I sit and remember your gift of Jesus.
I place my life into your hands and trust your ways and direction each day.
Bring joy and love into every bone in my body, a joy that overcomes all pain and fear.
May that Joy spill out to others.
May your Love flow through me to be a blessing.
Thank you Heavenly Father for Jesus the light of world that lightens up my heart.