In many of our homes, and all around us, preparations are well underway for Christmas.

This year some have followed the idea this year of putting up Christmas trees and decorations just a bit earlier than usual. There are different competitions going on in many neighbourhoods- best outside light displays, best decorated windows, best decorated trees etc..  The shops are full of presents and tempting goodies, the tv is rolling out the Christmas movies and the internet is awash with recipes, fancy wrapping and gift ideas. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Whether it’s a scaled down get together or scaled back spending because of pandemic repercussions, we remain resolute on celebrating as best we can. We are all looking to find a bit more joy and kindness, familiarity and comfort as we embrace the season. And no wonder after such a tumultuous year.

Christmas may be becoming more secularised, but the core remains the same. The wonder of God’s Son being born. The greatest gift to our world. The hope of a Saviour and Redeemer, the blessing of knowing Jesus in our hearts and lives.

Before the pressures and preparations of bringing Christmas to everyone else, there is an ever-open invitation for each of us to embrace. A quiet time, with the Light of the World and King of Kings for ourselves. Just to be, to adore, to connect, to receive.

We know too well how operating in ministerial auto pilot can rob us of personal time with God. It’s beautifully restorative to just sit with a coffee and read the scriptures. Reflecting and listening for the voice of God. I remember a seasoned preacher once said that if you need encouragement and to hear God’s voice- then start reading through the book of psalms until your heart connects. That’s good advice! Or why not mull over the Christmas story in a different translation to your normal. Find a moment in a comfy chair, mute the phone, and play your favourite worship music or Christmas carols. It really is that simple. I know because I’ve done it, even when at times I had to literally drag myself to this sacred space. We never lose out when we do. God is always there. Watching, waiting, longing, loving, protecting, cheering us on. As we court His presence He can never resist. There is no sustenance like it, as we posture our hearts in awe of His Majesty.

Christmas is coming….and our beautiful Jesus is already here.

Donna MacNeil


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