A Message for Christmas from the Resource Minister
Dear friends of Mercury Bay Parish,
December – the month when the days just seem to rush by: gifts to think about, food to cook, travel to arrange, church to decorate, Christmas services to arrange……. Even more important than during ‘ordinary’ days then, is to set aside precious time for prayer/mediation/reflection. In the NZ Prayer book from the Anglican Church, that I often use as the basis for beginning my day, the call to worship for a Monday says: ‘always be joyful, pray continually; give thanks, whatever happens.’
Every time I sit with those words they call me to attention. ‘Always… whatever…’
One of the scriptures often read around Christmas time is from Isaiah 11 – the peaceable kingdom. It’s a kingdom of predator and prey: the wolf and the lamb, calves and lion cubs together. It causes me to think that most of our lives, contain a kind of mix – of things that challenge and worry us, and of things that comfort and bring us joy. To always be joyful seems inconsistent with life – tears and sadness are certainly part of living aren’t they?
But, yes to pray continually. It doesn’t, I find, need to be a conscious process all the time – rather to have an attitude of prayerfulness, perhaps we might say an awareness of the presence of God always with us, so a communication occurring in the space where Love is held. Perhaps then in that space it becomes possible to say ‘always be joyful’, just as it becomes possible to imagine ‘the calf and lion cub together’.
At Christmas especially we celebrate the coming of God into this world in the form of Jesus – the incarnation. In this time leading to Christmas, let us be peculiarly sure to set aside a time ‘to always be joyful’ in God’s presence, and to carry that out into our day to be a blessing to others.
And as we think about gifts: what do I really have to give this Christmas, apart from money or goods? When we read the gospels, Jesus walked the dusty roads with very few possessions it would seem – Yet the gift of God’s grace and love turned the people’s lives right around.
Can we in our church this Christmas put that precious gift in a stronger package in our families and communities than we generally seem to manage?
Peace and hope to each one