How many of you wonder if the reading from Matthew 6 doesn’t apply to you? Don’t worry, be happy? If we’re honest with ourselves, do we wonder if this inspirational stuff is fine if you’re young – but for adult modern life, doesn’t apply? After all – this isn’t going to pay the rent, repair the car, overcome the concerns of our lives. Yet Jesus knew about worries, he knew about life – he tells us to stop worrying and asks us to notice the moment. To give our attention to what God has for us now – as He will help us deal with tomorrow when it comes.
We’ve all been at an occassion where we meet new people and have to introduce ourselves. How do we answer that question – have we ever answered that question by saing “I am the salt of the earth, the light of the world!” Probably not; but Jesus answered his disciples to suggest this is what they were. Being salt and light is unique to each of us – but how we shine our light and sprinkle our salt will reflect and reveal the life of God with us.
When you open the bible, Haggai is one of the twelve minor prophets, right at the end of the Old Testament. It can be a hard book to find, as it’s a very short one: but there’s important lessons inside which can help us reflect on the importance we place on bricks and mortar – instead of the living temple that is Jesus Christ.
Today is the feast of Candlemas, where we remember Jesus being presented at the temple. With the blessing of candles for the year to come and a reminder of our baptismal vows, is Candlemas really for the adults whereas Christmas is for the children – or is there something for us all at this time?
If you haven’t heard a child say “come and see – look at what I’ve discovered!” – perhaps you’ll recall saying this when you were a child. Something happened and you couldn’t keep it to yourself; you wanted someone else to be a part of your life. We invite our spouse, colleague, friend, person we trust to see what we’ve accomplished even now – and want in turn to celebrate and see their moments too. These moments of epiphany: Jesus likewise invites us into a relationship with him – to come and see.
We all need the basics; for the Samaritan woman it was water – but Jesus knew her real needs, beyond the drink of water. No doubt we have complicated histories, which have affected our lives and none of us have had smooth journeys to reach the point where we are now – but the comfort we take from Jesus conversation with the Samaritan woman is that Jesus knows our true needs, and can deliver these to us.
Do we always notice what’s going on in the Christmas story? Gold is precious and lasts – symbolic of something important. Francincense produces a strong, powerful scent and it’s smoke is symbolic of our prayers, rising to God in Heaven. Our longings, sorrows, hopes and joys – breathed in by God to recognise our need. Myrrh, almost antiseptic – reminding us of our need for healing and God’s power to fix us. The epiphany; how would we greet his new birth if it occurred today?
What is the best Christmas sweet? Rachel’s vote goes to the chocolate orange – at this time of year, the church often uses oranges to symbolise Jesus. How can unpacking a chocolate orange remind us of the good news Jesus brings – despite the need to break to be made whole?
Is Christmas just for the children? It’s fair to say that children are a focus for the season – but it’s certainly not, if we mean it’s something we grow out of as we get older. Rather, we should grow into Christmas – there’s so much more to Christ, than the story of a birth. Jesus is the light of the world – Christmas is so much more when we follow Christ, as we are pulled from the darkness to live in the light.
One for the children – and young at heart – our Crib and Christingle service on the 24th December started our final Christmas countdown. Rachel explains how the story of Jesus birth can be explained through crisps …much to the entertainment of all!