Encouragement From The Word

Wishful thinking

We’re two weeks away from Christmas Day.  That revelation may be relieving to some and downright frightening to others, but it’s true nonetheless.  That, coupled with a letter I received yesterday, gave me pause to think.

As Clerk of our Presbytery, I received a letter yesterday informing the Presbytery that it had not been accepted into a program that the denomination is sponsoring to help bring renewal to Presbyteries across the country.  There were 27 applicants, and only 15 could be accepted, so there were 12 that had to be denied.  Ours was one, and I’m certain there will be disappointment that results from the news.

Perhaps you have a ‘wish list’ at Christmas – a list of things that you would like to receive as gifts.  If that list is not completely fulfilled, are you disappointed?  When we were children, most of us had high hopes for particular gifts.  Those hopes still exist, though most certainly for different things, today.  Witness the commercials put out by “Best Buy”, whereby gifts are described not by their names or physical properties, but by the reactions expected as a result of their receipt. 

Do you have a wish list?  In our (mostly) affluent society today, many people who don’t get everything they wish for simply go out on Boxing Day and Shop ‘Til They Drop to get what they want, and on sale, bien sûr.  Yet, as the great theologians (!) Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote,

You can’t always get what you want

And if you try sometime you find

You get what you need

What we want and what we need are not always the same thing.  Many people know what they want for Christmas; do they know what they need?  Do we know what we need?

The whole ‘Christmas’ thing got started because God presented the greatest gift of all in the form of himself:  God in human flesh, born in a lowly manger.  That is what we need for Christmas:  Jesus.  And the best part of all is that when we wish for him, we will receive him.  And when we receive him we will never, ever be disappointed.

This may not be news to you.  But you can be sure that it is news to some of your friends and neighbours.  Why not invite them to celebrate Jesus with you this Christmas among your church family?  Let them experience the wonder of Christmas surrounded by people who are united around a common purpose of glorifying and enjoying God forever.

What a difference you and I can make!