From the Winter Magazine
Even though this will be an early Christmas magazine, I am still later than the shops in letting you know that Christmas fast approaches!
Those whose interest in Christmas is primarily commercial, rush us through September, October and November, telling us all to get ready for Christmas by buying presents, decorations and everything else that they say we need for the perfect Christmas. The thing is these months have real treasures within them that we shouldn’t miss by over focusing on December - but that’s another letter!
Christmas should be prepared for ssslllooowwwlllyyy (slowly) as, when you think of it, God took centuries to prepare to make known His loving purposes in and through Jesus. As we read through the Scripture passages at Christmas we find ourselves in the Old Testament reading words of promise and hope from 700 years before the birth of Jesus. The prophets, Isaiah and Micah, (see for example Isa 9: 2-7, Mic 5: 2-5) speak words for their own time which Christians see fulfilled in Jesus. God, it seems, has been in no rush!
So what about our preparations? Could I suggest that between now and Christmas we all begin to acquaint ourselves with the Story of Jesus birth once again. At our own pace, let’s read the stories in Matthew and Luke, a bit at a time, thinking about what we are reading. Don’t let the fact that we’ve heard the Story so often fool us into thinking that there is nothing new to be discovered, Read, reflect, be astonished! Also perhaps begin to look at the odd carol (not Away in a Manger) and again feel for the season before us. Lastly deepen your prayer life; talk more to God and ask Him to write the Story of Jesus afresh upon your heart.
The commercial powers are right, in this respect, preparation is necessary for Christmas. What kind of preparation is all important if the Heart of Christmas is to touch ours.
God bless you all.
Peace, Hope and Love be yours this Christmas J