The days are busy, but not rushed. Christmas will come in its own time, just as my friends first grandchild will arrive in his own time, perhaps for Christmas and perhaps not. The Tree in church is up and the lights were switched on for tonights Carol Service; however the tree lights did n’t steal the show. All eyes were fixed in rapt attention on the crib figures, Mary, Joseph with his lantern, the ox and donkey, the empty manger, waiting for Jesus to arrive … we will put him in the straw at the children’s crib service tomorrow… there is plenty of straw in our stable (the oak altar table converted by removing the frontal) Strange, how folk in their eighties become children again at this time of the year, yet perhaps not so strange, almost it would seem; people who normally do not have any hestitation in stating their complete unbelief and disinterest in things godly at all other times of the year, welcome the opportunity to come home for Christmas to linger in the candle light, and find their way to light a candle, perhaps because they don’t know the right words to say, or how to ask….
Now, I cannot recall who it was who first told me I had a Father in heaven, I know He was with me my first day in school, God has always been with me, but even as a child , I felt there was something more. At Sunday School I was the smart one, who won all the prizes; but knowing all the bible verses, was never enough. I can hear my lovely teachers and elders now, telling us that faith was the important thing, not feelings…. well, faith I had. I knew my God was right there, I only had to ask, and I often did for everything and anything; and the Lord was good and is good and answered my every little prayer, and most importantly, in His time …. answered the prayer I could not pray, because I did not know what that one thing more was….
How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is giv’n!
That line from the Christmas Hymn ‘O Little Town Of Bethlehem’ comes often to mind. Growing up, it would come to mind as I sat on my bed, pondering what it was I needed and did n’t know how to ask for. You see, I knew God loved me, I knew Jesus died for me, I knew Jesus was my Saviour, I knew that God heard my prayers, that He heard me… what then was it that I yet lacked?
I had to wait until I was twenty years old before I found the answer to that. No, rather the answer found me. I was alone, and the Holy Spirit came and stayed, there was no laying on of hands, just simple instruction on what to do next. It is as simple as that!
I know, somewhere, some very Theologically minded person might well be thinking that He was there all the time; yes probably, but not in the same way as He was now and is now. But for now I wish for all who might read this post …
All the Joy that the Fullness of the Spirit brings and a very happy Christmas