Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 39:5-6, The Passion translation, The Psalms—Poetry on Fire, the real meaning of Christmas, the brevity of life, puff of air, Man is a mere phantom, Each man’s life is but a breath, Christmas’

Jo 12Don’t tell anyone—but I have a strong suspicion I might be getting a little … well … ahem … old! This Christmas, as I have listened to parents talking about the plethora of end-of-year events they have had to take their children to and how busy they are in the lead-up to Christmas, I have felt tired even hearing about it all, let alone doing it!

I wonder how busy your own lead-up to Christmas has been. For us right now, it is nowhere near as hectic as it was in past years—particularly those years when our own children needed to be at all sorts of end-of-year celebrations. Yet, for some odd reason, I still find myself just that bit too stressed as Christmas approaches. And, however much I am determined not to, I can so easily begin to forget what we are supposed to be celebrating in this festive season.

So what things cause me to forget, at least to some degree, what those festivities are all about? For me, the first is the challenge of getting the right presents for everyone. What if our gifts for each grandchild don’t look enough?? What if they don’t like what I bought them? What if they already have this game or that book? As for the parents, what if they think my presents are plain unimaginative—the same ones I come up with each year? What if they truly don’t want what I give them? What if I haven’t spent an equal amount on each of them?

Then there is that little matter of something to feed everyone for Christmas lunch and dinner. Even though we don’t have a huge family to cater for, I still find myself thinking, ‘What if we don’t have enough? What if it’s all a bit ordinary? What if I forget something? What if no one likes the special dessert I plan to make? What if …?’ On and on it goes.

Yet, once I take a moment to step back and analyse what is going on in my own mind, I have to laugh at myself. And one day last week, God helped me do this in a big way, when I came across Psalm 39:5-6 in ‘The Passion’ translation of the Bible:

What a brief time you’ve given me to live! Compared to you my lifetime is nothing at all! Nothing more than a puff of air, I’m gone so swiftly. And so too are the grandest of men; they are nothing but a fleeting shadow! … All our activities and energies are spent for things that pass away. We gather, we hoard, we cling to our things, only to leave them all behind for who knows who.”

Here was I, using what little time I have on this earth to worry over things that don’t really matter. Here was I, forgetting to focus on celebrating the wonderful gift of Emanuel, God with us, all for the sake of a few material gifts that won’t last anyway. How ludicrous!

So this Christmas, before my own ‘puff of air’ expires entirely, I’m determined, in the midst of all the celebrating and gift-giving, to remember what our festivities are all about and truly welcome the Son of God amongst us. How about you?

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