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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

This week, our younger granddaughter started school. On a day when the temperature reached 42 degrees in her area of Sydney, Olivia headed off in her brand new uniform, shoes and socks and all, to a classroom with overhead fans but no air-conditioning. Apart from a little weep in the lunch hour, she managed to make it through the day. But all did not go quite to plan.

You see, her older sister, Amy, had been commissioned by her mother to head for the canteen at lunchtime to buy an iceblock for both Olivia and her, in an attempt to cool them down. But when lunchtime arrived, Amy could not find her sister, so decided she should join the extremely long queue anyway and buy the iceblocks. Her plan was to find Olivia quickly afterwards, complete with iceblock. The helpful canteen lady cut the top off the wrappings, and Amy duly set out to look for her sister – but to no avail. She ate her iceblock – but what to do with the other one? The temptation must have been great to polish it off as well. But no – Amy carefully positioned it in her lunchbox so well, open side up, that it still hadn’t spilt by the time school finished. And then came her apology to her mother.

“Mum, I looked everywhere for Olivia, but I couldn’t find her. I still saved her iceblock for her though – I’m really sorry it melted!”

Well, Amy obviously loves her sister – and so much wanted to do the right thing. Her plan didn’t quite succeed, but at least she tried – at least she didn’t just give up and think only about herself. And that, I believe, is the kind of attitude that really gladdens God’s heart.

But I myself have also experienced love in action on a personal level this week. While I was away for a few days, my husband set to and dusted and vacuumed the house for me – a job I absolutely detest.  And he was the one who insisted I go away for some quality time by myself – a truly loving gift for me at this stage when my greatest desire is get back into that novel and write!

So often in recent days too we have seen love in action on a national level. Via our TV screens at least, we have witnessed the way so many have tried to pitch in and assist those whose homes and lives have been ravaged by the floods in various parts of Australia.  And whether these ‘good Samaritans’ know it or not, whether they even acknowledge or believe in God, surely these loving, self-giving actions are a reflection of the nature of God, who is the very essence of love?

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16b)  

Well, I’m proud of our Amy, I’m proud of my husband, and I’m proud of so many in our nation. But if the love we have for one another is a mere reflection of God’s love, then how amazing and awesome and incomprehensible must that love of God be? No wonder Paul describes it in Ephesians 3:19 as a love ‘that surpasses knowledge’! Yet despite that, he still prays that these Ephesians will ‘get it’ – that they may indeed ‘have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love’. (3:18-19) 

So as you too observe and experience those acts of love around you, big and small, may you too ‘get it’! May you too grasp something of that amazing love of Christ for yourself and know it is so real.

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I wonder if you’ve ever turned your hand to creating your own unique Christmas gingerbread house?  Last Saturday I witnessed around eighty adults and children do just that – and I have to admit I’ve never in my life seen so much icing and so many lollies in the one place at the one time, nor such an incredible diversity of style, technique and creative ability!  As the afternoon began, the first task was to work out which bits went where in building the basic house and then actually assemble it all.  And judging by the intense looks on the faces of both adults and children, this was serious business.

But then there was the obligatory waiting period to allow the icing joining the walls and roof together to dry – and that’s where I came in.  You see, I had been invited to speak during this time – and believe me, it turned out to be quite a challenge!  I suspect that listening to anyone at this strategic point was not high on the agenda of most children present – not to mention quite a few adults!  Their minds (understandably) were on lollies and how they would attach what where and how many they could fit on (and in) their creation, when the moment came.  Well, I did my best to talk over all the noise and focus on those who were listening – and I hope what I said honoured God.  Yet I could hardly be a match for all those gingerbread houses waiting to be decorated.

But after I finished speaking and mentally picked myself up, I soon noticed something that truly touched me.  I watched with interest as quite a few mums shared a special afternoon with their young daughters, helping them create the gingerbread house of their dreams, at times letting go of their own neat decorating concepts in favour of allowing their children free rein to be their own creative selves.  Some brave grandmothers were there too (and one Granddad), patiently helping grandsons and granddaughters with their creations.  It was quite moving to see them leave together later, proudly carrying their cellophane-wrapped masterpieces.

And whether all these mums and grandmums knew it or not, they were in fact modelling something of the heart of God I had tried to share with them as I spoke – that loving, gracious heart that has reached out to each one of us in sending Jesus into the world, that heart that wants to relate so intimately with each one of us, leading and encouraging us in our journey through life.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  (1 John 4:9)

May we all hear God’s heart this Christmas, beating with love for each one of us.  May we not be so distracted with celebrating Christmas that we forget the Christ, the Reason for it all.

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