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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas cards’

I thought I was seeing things, as I drove to our local shopping centre. Could that possibly be jacaranda trees blossoming everywhere? Even today, I feel nervous whenever I see them, as these were always a reminder in earlier years that exam time had come! Then I noticed some other trees nearby covered in small, smoky-red flowers. No … surely that could not be Christmas bushes in bloom already?

As I made my way into the shopping centre a few moments later, I looked up and saw Christmas decorations dangling from the ceiling everywhere. But … Christmas was months away yet—wasn’t it?

Still bemused, I went to buy a birthday card, only to discover most of the display had been given over to Christmas cards. Then I walked on further and came face to face with a large, fenced-off area where helpers were busy putting the final touches to a big throne at one end. Surely it wasn’t time for children to have their photos taken with Santa? What had happened to all those months since last Christmas?

I headed to the supermarket then—and yep, there near the bread section I saw Christmas puddings and fruit mince pies, while nearby were special shelves of Christmas chocolates. Was this just some ploy to distract or cheer everyone up during COVID19? It couldn’t be time for all that Christmas fare yet. Were we all being duped?

Feeling a little confused and dismayed, I started to head out of the shopping centre. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something nearby in the main thoroughfare. In the midst of all that other Christmas paraphernalia beginning to appear, could that … could that truly be a large nativity scene?

As I stood staring at it, I felt my whole body relax and found myself smiling. In a world that seemed to have gone a little mad, there in front of me was the age-old scene that depicts the true heart of Christmas and speaks of things with eternal significance. With no words at all, it was declaring the truth that the King of Kings came into this world as a humble child, born in a manger, to save us and show us God’s heart of love for this world.

Then it was as if God whispered to me, as I stood there, ‘I’m still here, in the midst of the chaos and confusion in the world right now. I haven’t changed. And I haven’t forgotten you. Don’t worry—don’t be dismayed. I am still the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It’s time for everyone to know this and to remember it this Christmas.’

Yes, maybe we do need to start thinking about preparing for Christmas—soon at least. But as we do, let’s keep our eyes focussed on Jesus, the babe in that manger but also the Son of God, who alone can bring peace to our chaotic world and to us. This difficult and uncertain time will soon pass, but Jesus, our eternal King, will remain—and reign—forever.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

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In case you haven’t heard, we have an adorable grandson who is almost one year old. He has plenty of toys, but what does he want to play with when he comes to our place? Well—anything that isn’t a toy, to put it succinctly!

P1030687Whenever he visits us, our Zain is adept at sizing up all sorts of objects in our lounge room that might be interesting to play with. Our home phone, placed on a low table within easy reach of little hands, is quite a drawcard. If we are in the room, he looks over at us, grins, reaches out and pauses, hand in mid-air, before actually touching the phone. He doesn’t usually pick it up—that can wait until we aren’t looking, at which point he makes a beeline for this precious object.

Then there is the array of remote controls on another low table. Whenever Zain arrives, we remove all these interesting objects to higher ground. And of course there are his grandfather’s puzzle books and computer magazines within easy reach too. What fun!

Our kitchen also provides endless possibilities for exploring and getting into mischief. Take the rubbish bin, for starters. Often Zain heads straight for it and proceeds to lift the lid and peer curiously inside. The empty bottles beside our fridge for recycling are great to knock over and roll around the floor. But most fascinating of all are those round, brown knobs on the cupboards and drawers—just the right size for our Zain to put his hands around and pull open. And then—well, a whole new realm of possibilities opens up in an instant!

We do have an actual toy basket with all sorts of interesting things in it for him to play with—but time and time again, he chooses—wait for it—two recycled plastic bottles, one containing uncooked rice grains and the other, macaroni. As he shakes them, he looks up at us with a smile of sheer delight on his face—and we instantly melt!

I have learnt all over again from our Zain that it’s the simple things in life that matter. Why buy those expensive, complicated toys? Why not just go back to basics and think of things that make interesting noises or open and shut or old household items like remote controls or phones?

This is the same lesson God teaches me over and over each Christmas, as we set up our little nativity scene in our lounge, read our Christmas cards that feature the manger scene, wise men and shepherds, sing those Christmas carols and reflect on the birth of a special child, God’s Son, Jesus Christ. This is the bottom line in life, don’t you think? It’s about getting back to basics—to what really matters. It’s about accepting God’s gift of a Saviour. It’s about keeping the main message of Christmas at the very centre of our lives. It’s about not making things too complicated but rather resting in the simple truth that God loves us and accepts us totally because of Jesus—that tiny baby in a manger, sent from heaven, born to be King, born to reign forever and ever.

I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10b-11)

God bless you all this Christmas and throughout 2013!

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