Singer-songwriter Andy Williams was known in North America as ‘Mr Christmas’. No doubt you’re familiar with his 1960s Christmas hit ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’. I do love this bright and cheery song (and okay, of course I am humming it as I write to you) – and I do certainly agree that this IS the most wonderful time of the year. But as I actually listen to the words he sings – he’s truly missing the mark.
How many people do you know who celebrate the food, fun, and festivities of Christmas completely devoid of the reason behind it? Shopping, and wrapping, and baking, and buying, and eating, and drinking —these activities are the focus of so many around the world celebrating ‘Happy Holidays’. But Isaiah 7:17 tells us:
‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.’
JESUS CAME TO BE LIGHT TO THE WORLD
This! This is the reason for the season! God sent his son to be ‘God with us’ —to be the light in this dark world. Last month I wrote to you about the darkness. And there is so much of it in our world still today. Darkness and sin. As believers, all of us know why this is —we’re imperfect humans. And yet...
‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23)
And yet I say thank goodness for the hope we have! Thank goodness for the reason we have to not be afraid —but to celebrate in joy!
‘The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people”,’ (Luke 2:10).
Since my last post, the General and I have travelled to Tanzania to lead a territorial congress and commissioning of the Messengers of the Gospel session. We were thrilled to be part of the passion and exuberance displayed by the Tanzanian Army. Then off we flew to Australia for a whole range of absolutely amazing Still Others events, the bringing together of Australia into a new united territory, and the commissioning of its new officers. After that, we were whisked away to a truly blessed time in Johannesburg where we joined with the South African cadets of the Messengers of the Gospel session for their Covenant Day, before flying home to the UK and finishing off our commitments at International Headquarters.
So many meetings. So many blessed times of worshiping together —and so much opportunity to see so many people, Christian or otherwise, deeply immersed in their Christmas preparations all around the world.
Well, this months’ blog post is short and sweet; I simply want to wish a merry, merry Christmas to you all, wherever you may be. And even though I don’t need to remind you all, I still want to shout it from the rooftops: —Jesus is the reason!! No matter what the Christmas celebrations look like, it’s all to honour him! He came into the world to light up the darkness!
‘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 Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,’ (Isaiah 9:6)
AND THE LIGHT KEEPS ON SHINING
‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth,’ (John 1:14)
AND THE GIFT KEEPS ON GIVING
‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows’ (James 1:17)
The best, most exciting part of all of this good news is: no matter the year, no matter the circumstance, no matter the weather — the light keeps shining and the gift of the Christ child keeps on giving!
‘Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!’ (2 Corinthians 9:15)
My prayers this month remain focused in the light of God, and in the hope that the gift of Jesus brings. I ask you to continue in prayer with me over just a few of the issues still weighing on my heart today:
- Yellow-vest crisis in France
- Alaska earthquakes
‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,’ (Romans 15:13)