Bring what you have to the World

Cross-stitch

Merry Christmas to one and all.

May this be a time of reconnection with family and friends, and making the most of all that we have.

Spare a prayer too, for those who have lost loved ones, or are separated from those they’d like to be with.

Sometimes in life we may feel that we have nothing to offer God, or the world. We might not be as innovative as Steve Jobs, or as compassionate as Mother Teresa.

But the choice we are all faced with is are we going to bring what we have?

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What is Christmas?

Christmas for some is all about the presents. Either the pleasure of giving or more often, receiving. Depending on your personality and love-of-shopping quotient it will either be heaven or hell. While some people have an innate ability at finding the perfect gift (or fantastic systems of recording potential gifts throughout the year), others like me step foot into a shop only when absolutely required. When absolutely required and only with a tactical plan so that I can get out again with strike-force precision.

Remember those who aren’t wealthy enough to buy their loved ones’ gifts. Those whose only toys are found not in a store full of toys but on a rubbish dump where they eke out a living.

Christmas for some is all about the food. I have to admit I understand this more than I do the shopping. Whether it be shrimp, lamb, turkey or some other meat sacrificed on the carvery of yum. Christmas is the one time of year when all of the ovens align and the delicacies pour forth.I for one could eat Christmas pudding all year round.

Remember those who don’t have access to enough food to survive let alone to feast upon. While we will endure bellies swollen with gluttony, they will have bellies swollen with hunger.

Christmas for some is all about family. It’s a time to gather with loved ones and re-connect. For some this means traveling from afar just to be back together again. It’s about celebrating the connections and remembering the good times. It’s about a shared experience and a common identity.

Remember those who don’t have supportive families; who are separated by dysfunction, circumstances or death. Invite someone to your table who would otherwise be alone.

Christmas for all is about faith. To those who recognise that there is a higher power in their lives than just themselves, Christmas can be a time of great celebration and hope. As foretold in the Bible hundreds of years before his birth Jesus, son of God, came to earth as a man destined to die. In that act of sacrifice Jesus paid the debt of sin (rebellion) on our behalf, so that we could re-enter a relationship with God.

This opportunity is for all. It doesn’t matter what your past or current situation is.

12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)

Jesus made the way ready, all you have to do is receive his gift.

20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)

And one final thought: drink drive and you are a bloody idiot.

The Meaning behind Christmas

For those of you who were following me when I was blogging under my alter ego you’ll know that over successive years I wrote several posts about struggling to embrace Easter or Christmas.

As a Christian I intellectually understand the spiritual significance of the events, but I couldn’t enjoy the festive periods as much as those around me seemed to. Perhaps I was jaded by the commercialism which respects nothing but the dollar. Maybe I just fell on my head too many times growing up… (it did happen an awful lot).

In recent years I’ve been pleased to confess that I’ve got Easter, and have had a growing appreciation for Christmas. A few days ago I sat down to reflect on Christmas, and jotted down a few faith-based thoughts.

  • Christmas was the beginning of the time when God started to write out the adoption papers for all those who would believe in Him, past, present and future.

    14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)

  • 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)

  • If Jesus had never come to earth, he couldn’t take on himself a punishment that we were destined to receive.

    23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23, 24)

    15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

  • It was the D-day of sin; the start of the defeat of the enemy of mankind.
  • God used unlikely, unskilled individuals because they were willing to be used. There was nothing particularly special about Mary or Joseph, except for their humility and subsequent obedience.
  • How God/heaven feels about Christmas is evident in his proclamation to the shepherds.

    13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

    14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
        and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14)

    If that’s how God feels about Christmas, I think I need to be less grinch and focus more on the true meaning of Christmas. I haven’t quite got it yet, but I’m getting close.

    I wish you all have a great Christmas – focusing on what is important and ignoring what is not.