December 2014

January 23, 2015

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

The season of Advent is here and we are looking forward to Christmas. Lists have been prepared, cards bought and maybe written, presents purchased, visits and menu’s sorted, Christmas decorations and lights checked, cake, mince pies and Christmas puddings made. We are looking forward to the selecting, transporting and decorating of a Christmas Tree and the wonderful smell of pine permeating the house. We have written the Christmas Service schedule in our diaries and are looking forward to singing the old familiar carols – although the minister will pop in a surprise or two – both in church and in around our community. We are expecting a feel good factor and a good rest when it is all over. All this is wonderful and should be enjoyed but it is not enough, it is only a partial understanding of what we are celebrating.

Yes we should look back and remember the wonderful gift of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born in Bethlehem in 4BC, worshipped by Angels, Shepherds and Sages from the East. It is a truly wondrous magical story but one that also included the pain and suffering of a torturous journey for the expectant couple by foot and donkey, no suitable accommodation, birth in an animal stable and fleeing to Egypt to escape a murderous, jealous King. Yet even to remember this is not enough, it is not the complete story.

Advent is also about looking forward to the day we meet Christ face to face, whether that be at His Second Coming or at our death, whichever comes first. We should be as meticulous about our preparations for that event as we are for our Christmas celebrations. Maybe we should be more meticulous because we know when Christmas is coming, 25th December every year but we have no idea when we shall meet our Lord Jesus face to face, it could be as soon as tomorrow. Advent should be a time of preparing for that event.

We know the Biblical Prophecy that one day ‘every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord’. We know the Biblical certainty that God loves us all unconditionally. They are wonderful parts of the foundations of our faith and we rejoice in them. Yet at the same time we abuse them, and in doing so we abuse God. This is because we believe that as everything will be alright at the end we go on living just as we like now paying scant regard to the damage it is doing to us, our world and our relationship with God. I remember asking a group of teenagers what difference it would make if Jesus came and spent Christmas with them at their house. Their answers were quite predictable. Mum would have to really tidy up, Dad would not be able to drink so much and would not be able to tell all his jokes, we would not be able to watch some of the television programmes we like, we would have to dress properly, watch our language and treat our family better. There is a certain sadness about their answers as it shows a stereotypical response to Jesus. However the important thing is that they recognised that things would be different with Jesus. I then said Jesus would be with them at Christmas, as he was now, so maybe they should do these things now.

At Christmas we celebrate Immanuel – God with us and we prepare for meeting Him face to face for the whole of eternity. We must make sure we are ready for Him.