5th January 2013

Christmas Blessing

“I will remember the things the Lord has done. Yes, I will remember the powerful works of long ago. I will think of all Your work, and keep in mind all the great things You have done.”
Psalm 77:11-12 (NLV)

We had the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics crammed into 2012 on top of our normal statutory national and personal annual holidays. They gave us times for street parties and musical extravaganzas; at the opening ceremonies of the Games, riotous celebrations of that indefinable ‘us-ness’ – the creativity, industry and eccentricity of the peoples of the UK. They gave us the inspiration of the determined efforts and accomplishments of the Para-Olympians and, for some, the chance to stand amongst eighty thousand other people and shout for Britain.

They were times when worries about the euro crisis, economic woes, and cynicism and sniping were put to one side. The slaughter in Syria was relegated from the front pages of the newspapers, and replaced by rain-soaked rowers on the Thames and the triumphant faces of successful athletes. These days were collective emotional rests for most of the population, distractions from the normal flow of life with all its stresses, as we were soothed by the sight of an indefatigable monarch and gold medals. Then came Christmas to get the nation away again from the rigours of everyday work, although for many in our secular society it was just the ‘winter family festival’–a time to eat and drink, watch all the favourite TV programmes and forget the trials of life.

These events lifted our spirits, but they were only highs for a while and then we returned to the drab routine of life and the realities of living together.  I’m not being a party pooper – it’s not my point. Christmas is a time for remembering, not forgetting. All the problems from which we try to get relief through times of good cheer have their solution in the event Christmas commemorates: the coming of God into our world and into our lives. It is a time of remembrance ‘because the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.’ It’s a time to remember that because ‘the heart of our God is full of mercy towards us, the first light of Heaven has come to visit us—to shine on those who lie in darkness and under the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the path of peace.’ (John 1:14, Luke 1:78-79 Phillips)   Hold on to this Christmas BlessingO my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! (Psalm 103:2 MSG)

Saviour who came to bear our sorrows and carry our griefs, Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world to bring us the rest and joy and peace we crave – may we remember your coming and may our spirits sing for joy.

Study by Hilary Buck

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