This time of year does give us time to appreciate the true gift of Christmas. Our savior, Jesus Christ. Sadly, it’s too often a gift we throw away in favor of more material gifts. But God shows us grace and continues to present His gift to us every day. There was a Christmas song when I grew up – ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ which is all about Christmas trees, snow, gifts and food. That would get boring very quickly but with Jesus it is Christmas every day. The precious gift that is waiting, freshly wrapped every morning when we wake up. Happy Christmas!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, You are our indescribable gift. Forgive us when we discard You for our own selfish gifts. We thank You that You are here for us every day – Amen!
Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
I’m working Prague this week. I’m filming a commercial with a complicated story but my job is to make it simple.
In Prague town square there’s a great atmosphere as people get into the Christmas spirit. Everyone is gathered, looking at the tree where there is a large nativity scene. They all look happy. And it makes me happy to see other people happy. But it’s easy to complicate the Christmas story. Or throw sub-plots into it to try and make it more interesting or more like the way we want Christmas to be. In the case of the Jesus story those sub-plots are elaborate Christmas trees, elaborate gifts, Santa Claus and many more things. I don’t dislike those things but what if they didn’t exist? Could we still be joyful and happy? Yes! Our joy comes with the birth of Jesus. “Glad tidings of great joy I bring to you and all mankind”. From the carol ‘While Shepherds watched their flocks by night’.
Only time has turned that joy into a different kind of joy that distracts us from the gift of Jesus. A stark reminder of the story lies about a mile away from Prague town square, on the bridge leading to the castle. It’s in the picture below. Jesus nailed to the cross. The two images – the nativity and the cross are the beginning and the end of Jesus’s life on earth. Nothing complicated in-between really. Amazing but not complicated. Jesus came to earth in a humble way. Born in a not particularly flash place. He humbly walked our earth for 33 or so years. Talking about what believing and having faith means. He performed miracles and educated others on how to live in His way. And recruiting followers that will ultimately recruit others. In the end, as was the plan, He died for us. For our sins. He is our Lord and savior. That’s what we’re joyfully celebrating this season. Anything else is a complication to the story.
Charles bridge, Prague
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we thank You for sending Your son to die for us. May the joy of believing in You and having faith in You be enough for us this Christmas – Amen!
‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.’
Most of us get on the same train everyday. It’s a routine that we’re in to. I’m sure we stand on the same part of the track waiting for the train. It’s a necessity really. We know what train and what car to get on to get us to the office in the most efficient way. Efficiency is an important part of our work. Getting the best job done with the just the right amount of effort. But I’m not sure if I ever have enough energy to get everything done. I think it’s because I don’t stop to refuel. The Holy Spirit is a source of energy for us all. It heals. It speaks to us. It gives us strength. But to refuel we need to stop. Not just go slower but come to a complete stop. Praying for The Holy Spirit to help us along can feel like a pointless exercise and sitting down and actually talking through our needs is a discipline and feels like hard work. “I’ll give it a go but it probably won’t work.”or ‘He’s probably not listening anyway.”are thoughts that sometimes cross my mind. But God knows what we need. I know I say that a lot but He does. If you feel exhausted then there’s a very good chance He agrees! If you feel like you just need to cut your workload or have a deadline extended then it’s well worth praying for. God has moved my calendar around on many occasions. Better than I ever could imagine. This isn’t a fantasy faith we have. A nice thing to believe around Easter and Christmas. No, God is 24/7 committed to us even in the times when we’re not committed to Him. So, if you’re on a train now, stop and break the routine. Close your eyes and have a chit-chat with God. Let all your thoughts no matter how random head in His direction. He can take it all. Unlike you, He doesn’t need a break.
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, help us to stop and look to You for energy and encouragement. May we find time to break our routines and spend time with You. Thank You for always listening and knowing what our needs are – Amen!