Posts Tagged ‘christmas eve’

Happy New Year?

January 8, 2015

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I certainly hope so! A Happy New Year is what I sincerely wish for everyone who reads this… but who knows? The Bible says: “Boast not thyself of tomorrow: for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27v1) Indeed, knowing how it is with the terrible unrest in this world, we brace ourselves in the knowledge that just about any evil can be perpetrated.

Today I have been hearing about the recent Paris shootings from my daughter who works a short distance from the area where they took place. How my heart goes out to the loved ones and friends of those who were murdered, some of whom were police officers. Yes, who knows “what a day may bring forth?”

Shortly before Christmas my dear Mum passed away on 13th December. I was just starting to come to terms with this terrible loss when suddenly we received the news that my husband’s Dad, of whom I was very fond, had also passed away. My children have witnessed the funerals of two of their grandparents – one on 16th December and the other just eight days later, on Christmas Eve… And this past year I have also had to face up to other negative news concerning my health, having had a third operation.

I often wondered how on earth I could ever cope with the loss of my mother – but I have! How can this be so and how can I have lived through such a traumatic time over these last few weeks, with whole nights spent without sleep? The answer is… I could not possibly have coped if I had not been leaning on the Lord and His great power to carry me through.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46v1

He has helped me to cope physically and He has helped me to remain calm when faced by some very distressing circumstances.

“I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34v4)

I met an acquaintance (a Christian) locally one day while shopping and I told her about Mum.

“Oh, but your mother knew the Lord didn’t she?” she said cheerfully.

“Yes, but I miss her so much…”

“Oh, Elizabeth…” she said warmly, “she’s gone just a little while before you. You’ll see her again!”

“Yes, yes… you’re right of course. That’s true…”

Somehow those cheerful words put a spring in my step and I continued on my way, much encouraged on that dark December day after her funeral. Yes, in just a little while I will see her again. Recently, too, I also remembered Mum’s words to me… “Don’t worry about me love… if I’m not here some day, you’ll know where I am…”

What a glorious wonder… to see the face of our Redeemer, our Lord and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Meanwhile I will go in His strength, sowing the seed, distributing her testimonies – and that of my Dad who passed away just three years ago.

And I am ready to reach others in whatever way the Lord will direct me, until the Lord’s return – or His home call to me. Who knows, indeed, what a day may bring forth (never mind a year) in this uncertain and dangerous world we live in?

To those who know Him… “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalm 46v11)

What a wonderful Saviour, Redeemer, Comforter, Confidant and Friend to have as we launch into the year ahead – whether its waters are troubled or smooth.

Whoever you are, yes, I do wish you have a happy year ahead but who knows? And even when everything is going our way, without the Saviour life is really meaningless. Furthermore none of us are immune from unhappy events in this world, whatever our profession of faith… but His grace is greater!

If you have never done so – trust Him now to forgive you your sins and to shoulder your burdens and heartaches – and He will deal with them all, for He died that you might have life and have it more abundantly and then, even when the low times come knocking at your door, He will carry you through and you can claim these words for your own…

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8v38&39)

 

 

The Greatest Gift of All – A True Story

December 24, 2010

My Aunt Frances adored her children. There were five of them altogether – four girls like ‘steps of stairs,’ and finally a boy, all born in the 1940’s and 1950’s. She encouraged them educationally and when it came to the Christmas season, she ensured that each one wakened up on Christmas morning to a beautiful gift. This was quite an achievement, given that post-war times were hard and money was scarce in most households.

In those days she lived in a small town house, and I know (from experience) that under such circumstances it can be difficult to find extra storage space for those gifts we want to surprise our loved ones with on Christmas morning! Anyway, one particular year she bought many lovely gifts for her children, including a little iron and ironing board for one of the girls, but where would she hide them? At the time my parents, siblings and I lived in an old country house (where my aunt had lived previously) and although lacking in many modern conveniences, we had a little bit more space to hide the Christmas gifts and so my parents agreed to keep them for my aunt until Christmas Eve. As a child I loved Christmas, but somehow I recall that Christmas Eve was a busy, often stressful time – especially for women.

That year (as was the tradition for many years) it had previously been agreed that my parents would drive over to my aunt’s house with my cousins’ presents on Christmas Eve. When it came to the evening in question they did go over to visit her, but with all the activities and conversation – they completely forgot the real reason for their visit. They didn’t even think about those toys until they were back at home, preparing to go to bed and heard a knock at the door…

There standing in the cold December night was Aunt Frances with her bicycle, having cycled the entire distance from the town to our country house! In those days most people didn’t have a telephone in their homes (never mind a mobile ‘phone) and so, the only way she could get those essential gifts was to cycle out to us. That night my father packed my aunt’s bicycle into the car boot with the toys and drove her home, and then, in the quietness of the night while the children slept, she carefully laid out the surprises for the morning.

I was touched by this true story of a mother’s love for her children after hearing it from my own mother just recently, for I could also see some spiritual parallels. The miles that she cycled may not seem much nowadays for modern day cyclists who possess high-powered mountain and racing bicycles, but I am certain that my aunt possessed neither. Also, in her youth she had had an accident in which her legs had been badly injured, so that cycling may possibly have caused her some discomfort. What trouble she went to, for the sake of the happiness of her children!  In the Bible, a mother’s love is referred to in Isaiah 49v15, because it is normally one of the most unselfish and self-sacrificing of all the relationships between human beings. “Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”

Therefore we learn that it is possible for even a mother to be lacking in love, but God’s love for us transcends all loves. In 1John 4v8, we learn that “God is love,” and in Romans 5v8 we are told: “But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” At this time of year gifts (large and small) are on our minds, but surely the Greatest Gift of All is that which God gave to us at Calvary? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3v16&17)

If my cousins had refused those beautiful gifts on Christmas morning, how heartbroken my aunt would have been; having gone to so much trouble over them. Jesus, the perfect Son of God having humbled himself to die on a cross has paid the ultimate price for our sins at Calvary. Today He still stands with outstretched arms, offering His gift of salvation to “whosoever will come.” All He desires is that we acknowledge our sin, repent of it and ask Him to come into our lives, so that He can make us “new creatures.” (2Cor. 5v17) Will you trust Him today? It is a decision you will never regret – for I have proved it in my own life! Remember tomorrow may be too late, for no one knows what tomorrow holds, and some day soon He will return to receive “His own.” (Matthew 24v44). Oh that you would be ready for His return and that you would know the joy of His presence in your life today!

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6v23) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast.” (Eph.2v8&9)