I always thought December was Christmas month. But no, shops are filled with Christmas goodies at the beginning of October and by the time December arrives, no one will want to hear The Holly and the Ivy again. Then, of course, there are different types of Christmas: Christians remembering the birth of our Lord with nativity plays and carol services, others decking their houses with Christmas wreaths, entertaining and being entertained, and thinking about their yearly attendance at church, and yet others having a whale of a time with no thought at all of what lies behind all the celebration.
We are all used to a comfortable and happy Christmas, but some of us have lost loved ones during the year. Many years ago, my Mum died on Christmas day, and this year my dearly loved son passed into the presence of his Lord just weeks after Christmas. There are many Christians grieving and I think of them all, Covid has been cruel and unexpected this year. And then, my thoughts go to the millions who live below the breadline: there will be no Christmas stockings or sweets in those homes. How about the persecuted church? The end times are rapidly approaching, we read of Christians in hiding, being flogged, martyred for their faith. I wonder if I could bear it, and I pray for them.
But as I think of Christmas and the coming of our Lord as an infant, to be despised and rejected, to be followed by vast crowds who flocked to hear his stories which they couldn’t understand, to see him perform miracles and to bring their sick and dying to be healed, to accomplish his mission of giving humanity another chance of being accepted as children of God, of bearing the excruciating pain of crucifixion and then a pain I cannot begin to imagine, our Lord’s suffering when his Father turned his back on him, I am overwhelmed by the plan of Almighty God, and can only ask, What is man, that you are mindful of him?
As I plan for Christmas which we will spend in our apartment with one of our daughters and son-in-law, and our carer, I think of the rapid increase in evil in the last days that Jesus told us about when he said, “iniquity shall abound.” He also said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you… and I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Yes, our Lord came once as suffering servant. He is coming again with all the hosts of Heaven, radiant with the glory he had with the Father before the world was, when the dead in Christ shall rise to meet him in the air, and every eye shall see him, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The Day of the Lord is coming. What a wonderful day for us, Christians!
Wishing you a blessed Christmas
PS: See Menu > CHRISTMAS, for music, children’s play (Praise Him: see menu > music) and poems. I have added more carols to the SET.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is an old English proverb which originated in 1659. It could be applied to today’s workaholics. Human nature has been the same from time immemorial.
I am a workaholic. One of the last things I do at night is to write a TO DO list for the following day. I never complete it – it is rather like a wish list – and things like order Christmas cards online to be delivered on 1 December get put off until 1 December… I have an excuse: I’m 84 and things I used to do in a flash, now take much longer and aren’t improved by arthritic fingers. I understand an elderly relative of 90 saying “this year I won’t be sending Christmas cards.”
What do I do in the day? I get up at 6, have yoghurt and orange juice, answer mail, and read some news. Then I say my prayers, have a shower and get started. We are blessed in having a live-in carer who does everything for us. In the afternoon I usually sleep for an hour because, if I don’t, I cant work and have some recreation until midnight when I sign off and shut down after reading some theology, presently John Stott, 2 passages from the Old testament and one from the New.
What do I do for recreation? Ten minutes everyday learning German on Duolingo, I always have a book to read in the odd half hours, my preference being stories written by foreigners who have settled in France or Italy and converted tumbled-down properties into delightful homes. I look at BritBox with John over supper – BBC and ITV – and have just finished Jane Austen’s EMMA which was lovely. We also have Netflix with which I found it increasingly difficult to find programmes that I approved of and wanted to watch. Now that we have been vaccinated against COVID, we plan to walk in the lovely gardens in our retirement complex. We have just come out of complete isolation except for family visits. For a year and a half we only left our apartment once.
So am I a dull old girl? No, time has simply flown and I have so much to do, writing music, blogs, revising John’s writings for his website-to-be, an enormous job. But the days are the same 24/7. Even on the Sabbath I find myself pulling the donkey out of the ditch. But no more. The Lord God created the world and on the 7th day he rested. The Sabbath was holy. Jesus, when the crowds were pressing on him and his disciples, “took them apart for a while.” Sundays are going to be different. Things I normally do on Sunday, like filling daily doses into medicine boxes and ordering online a long list of household and food products will be done on Saturday. And I shall keep the Sabbath as nearly as I can. If you are a Christian workaholic, try this too. God’s commands are for our benefit.