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From the minister’s study

For a number of weeks now people have been asking one another about their readiness for Christmas. I think it was in October that I saw on social media that a friend had finished their shopping for presents and my reaction was one of amazement. I can’t even begin to think about it that early with birthday presents to buy for 5 grandchildren & 2 adults between the end of September & early December. I have bought one Christmas present out of the dozen or so that I need to get and it is some way from me being able to say “it is finished”. At least I have started.

There is however a great sadness in my heart about the state of Christmas in our society. Whilst many are making good progress in their physical preparations for the festivities I wonder how far they are along in their spiritual preparations. Have they even started? Is not the theme of the moment, eat, drink & be merry for tomorrow we die? Therein lies my sadness because it is all too true. So many have not even started their spiritual preparations for what lies ahead believing that they have all the time in the world. As I was preparing this I thought of the young girl of 19 whose life so tragically ended recently and the relatively young tennis star who has died from cancer. It reminded me of the transitory nature of life and how we all too often shy away from thinking about its end or preparing for that.

The story of Christmas is the greatest story ever told. It is a story about one who came to touch each of our lives with his amazing love and grace. Have you responded to that love and grace so that you can really celebrate Christmas as one who knows he whom we honour?

When our time comes will we be able to rejoice that our lives have been as full and fulfilling as they should have been? I am not wishing to be morbid at all as I have a real peace about my own situation – however short or long the rest of my life will be. In a very real sense the true Christian can have that peace because they know that the real & meaningful preparations for their life and for eternity are in the hands of another. That is the Lord Jesus who, at the end of his short life, cried out “it is finished”. He was referring not just to his earthly life but to all that he came to earth to do.

John 3:16 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” (The Message)

In him we can have a truly fulfilling life and know that all the preparations for our eternal future have been made. Indeed, it is finished. An even bigger celebration awaits us in heaven in the presence of God and we have to do nothing but trust him and live our lives with him day by day.

Now back to the preparations that I have to make for this Christmas & I hope soon to be able to say “it is finished”.

YC@T thursdays