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Christmas Devotional: O Come All Ye Faithful

The school holiday wheels are already falling off and it is only day one. We have baked a cake, watched a movie, done colouring in and my current soundtrack to this blog is a pair of tap shoes that I am hoping miraculously get lost stat!

Mariah Carey’s rendition of “All I want for Christmas” doesn’t even have the lift for the fatigue that has set in this season. Moment after moment, we sit in the midst of our messy lives and we remember the pure joy of being human.

Perfectionism is rife at Christmas and the advent of social media has made us all experts in the filtered life. Then enters this Carol. It is one that often makes me hiccup in the middle of my December madness.

The idea of faithfulness does not sit well with our current climate of consumerism. Another way we could describe it is just showing up. Showing up for each other. Showing up for our families, even when it is far from perfect.

Over the last couple of months, I have been on a book club journey with a group of wholehearted women. We have been reading through Brene Brown’s latest offering “Braving The Wilderness” and in full disclosure, today is the last day of the book club and I am meant to be writing my final salutation from the book, to round it up perfectly and neatly, wrapped in a bow.

However, there is one problem. I haven’t finished reading the book. Yep, fail and shrug. You see I could have written a post about what I have learnt from the book and filtered the whole experience with quotes and nods filled with wise sayings. Dodging the reality that I was missing the point of the book altogether.

Being brave means being faithful. Which means we show up, even when we haven’t quite made the measure. See, Jesus entered a world that was upside down. I am sure entering the midst of humanity would have been a shock to his perfection. He sat and cooked fish on the shores of the ocean. Sat around tables and broke bread. Took the time to visit those who were sick and he was misunderstood by his family and friends.

“True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. We want true belonging, but it takes tremendous courage to knowingly walk into hard moments.” Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness.

So here I stand a little uncomfortable because I didn’t finish something I started but at the same time I am showing up and finding grace in the midst of faithfulness.

For my book club:

What lesson did you take away from the book? and what was your favourite quote?

I pray this Christmas for those who are faithfully showing up even though it looks very imperfect. Help us to discover our voice in the midst of disconnected moments. I pray mostly for those who feel isolated or forgotten this Christmas. Those who are looking for where they belong. I hope that they would find the courage to step foot into a church, a carols service and participate in the choirs of angels singing in exaltation. That we would together answer each other’s prayers in ways that could only be attributed to miracles.

In the name of Jesus

Amen

Day 10: O Come All Ye Faithful

New Days, a vision workbook has just been released for download here. A tool to help you reflect, journal and envision at this time of year.

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Christmas Devotional: Peace Upon The Earth

The word peace in its rawest form means a world free of disturbance and tranquillity. The application of this word upon our earth means an age free of war. The human race has a thread throughout the beginning of time where we long for peace.

The quiet moment where we see communities working together for the “better good” of the whole rather than the advancement of the individual.

This Christmas more than ever I think we all long for good news. I don’t know about you and your house, but each and every time I turn on the news as my family settles in for the evening I regret it. The overwhelming needs found in our communities sometimes disable me.

Just recently I was sitting out to lunch with a new friend, who is a business owner in my local town. She said to me “I’d like to give back this Christmas”. I have stock that I often sell and all my stock runs low at this time of the year, but this year I want to give it away to those who don’t have much”. Over social media, we chatted about options and then we came together again to hatch a plan. Last week I went to go and pick up what I thought would be a couple of boxes of beautiful handmade products, to walk away with hundreds, upon hundreds of little gifts for people in our community.

I called our local refuge, who opens their doors three days a week for those who are needing shelter and safety, to see whether they would like to give them out to their guests. Then I also found a house of hope, that takes in young pregnant women and we gave boxes to them. Then we bought hundreds of them to a campaign that is supporting families in our community who are victims of domestic violence and are at risk.

One small conversation, that has flowed into the hearts and lives of many different families in our community. Peace is no longer decreed by the Kings of our land and leaders in far off places. Peace is waged by everyday people in the community reaching out their hands and giving from what is within it.

Proverbs 31: 20 says it this way

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

I know the war of peace is waged in the hands of the unseen, when we reach out and hold hands with a stranger, letting them know that we see their unrest.

I know the strategy of victory is employed when everyday housewives and check out operators smile, with a word of encouragement.

I know that greatness is found in the most humble of places and when we acknowledge the difficulty of those in dark seasons we surge forward the plight of peace upon our earth.

Christmas awakens the heart of generosity in humankind. When we celebrate one another, sharing homemade biscuits with our neighbours and extend our hearts to those in need, the battle is taken just one step towards a greater tomorrow.

My prayer this Christmas is that we would magnify the simple acts of generosity across our society more than the consumerism that seeps into our hearts. That we together would see kindness and the little moments to encourage another as the purest gold of our generation. Together may we thread our societies with the fabric of solidarity and unity. Together may we make a difference like no other generation. To be known as a people of generosity, acceptance and love. Together may we wage war against indifference and apathy. Together may we wage peace.

In the name of Jesus

Amen

Day 6: Peace Upon The Earth

New Days, a vision workbook has just been released for download here. A tool to help you reflect, journal and envision at this time of year.