You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
Christmas is only 35 days away!
Are you prepared for it? Many of us make lists so that nothing is forgotten. Have you bought all the cards, the presents, the food, and all the trimmings? Then what about the practical organisation? Who is going to fetch Aunt Maud this year for Christmas dinner? Do we have to invite Uncle George? And what about the latest TV adverts imploring you to part with your hard earned cash. Spend, spend, spend on the very latest hi tech gizmo that you never realised that you always needed (wanted). What about the kids? “Why can’t I have the latest Smartphone? All my friends have one!” “Is it all worth it”, I hear you say? Nowadays it all looks very much as if we are celebrating the pagan mid winter solstice. Yet it seems to me that we are missing the point here. Surely the true meaning of Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour in human form, and there is nothing pagan about that! Of course, God does not just appear on December 25 and then disappear again until brought out with the Nativity scene next year. God is with us today and every day of our lives.
As we need to make our preparations for the festive season, so Advent, like Lent is a time for us as Christians to prepare; at this time for the birth of Christ, the Messiah.
‘The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light.’ Romans 13:12 NIV Preparation must include reflection. Much will have happened over the past year, some good but some bad. Let us make a list of all those things, to discover where we have seen God in them; to ask what have we done for God over the past year and what, selfishly for ourselves? Perhaps the more important question we should ask is what ought we to have done, or not done for Him? Yet the past is just that past; it cannot be altered however much we may wish it could.
Our preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth then must include a resolution for the future; to serve God better than we have done over the past year. Yet the only way to know what is God calling us to do for Him in the next year, the next month, tomorrow is to ask Him. A brand new Smartphone is not necessary since keeping in touch with God is much simpler than that – just ask, speak to Him in prayer and listen to what He says. That way you will be prepared, for He will guide you on the course He has laid out for you. And then, be assured, God will walk with you every step of the way. How’s that for a Christmas present?
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years