It's almost the end of November, we have lots of snow on the ground and the temperatures are telling us it's definitely winter. Some of my neighbours turned on their Christmas lights this week and a friend emailed to say she had put her tree up. We're planning the Christmas program and dinner at our church and we've even starting singing the carols. It all makes me smile. It's a little early for me to turn the outdoor lights on or put the tree up, but I am looking forward to Christmas. Looking forward to the bright decorations, to having my family around a table laden with good food, to the laughter and perhaps even tears as we open presents.
Traditionally Christmas is a time to look back, far back, to a day over two thousand years ago, when a tiny baby was born in a village in the Middle East. But, because of who that child was, it is also a time to look forward and a time to ponder the present. That child, Jesus Christ, was God's present to us, a child who was to change the course of future history, not just for a space of time on this earth, but eternally in that mysterious place called heaven. Because of Jesus, heaven would be populated with humanity, those who would accept Him as their Saviour and the Son of God.
But I'm also trying to practise the 'present' of Christmas in another way - taking time to pause and enjoy all the moments, all that comes with this season - the music that tells the story in public places, the lights that proclaim His glory on the streets, the bustle of shoppers on a city street that speak of the spirit of giving and grace.
I'm also practising the 'present' of Christmas by taking time to pause and listen for the Saviour's voice, time to read His story from the Bible and get to know Him more. I know my present - every moment of the day - can be transcendent when I draw close to Him. I rejoice in each day He gives me, enjoying His creation, yes, even the snow and cold temperatures, His people, family, friends, even strangers, and most of all, His presence.
This Christmas I'll be looking back, looking forward and rejoicing in the present. All because of Jesus.
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