What’s it all about?

Bored man in Christmas hat

The stores have been full of Christmas goods for weeks; you’ve probably heard more than enough of ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’; your bank account is probably looking rather forlorn and the children’s excitement will soon be nearing fever-pitch. Enough already! In some countries of course, Christmas comes and goes almost unnoticed, as Christmas presents, or even a proper meal and a roof over one’s head, are only a dream. What’s the point of Christmas?

For others, Christmas is a magical time, the food, the presents and the opportunity to relax and indulge make Christmas the highlight of the year, but is that all there is to Christmas?

Before you give up on Christmas altogether, take a quick look at this video of ‘Christmas in a Nutshell’. In 1 minute 59 seconds it gives us the answer to “Why Christmas?” So when Christmas Day comes and goes, the presents are all unwrapped, the alcohol drunk, and you think what was that all about, you will have learnt the secret, not just of Christmas, but of life itself. Take a look!

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Finding rest

Sunset over a lake
Have we no time to stand and stare?

“This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Jeremiah 6:16)

So wrote the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah circa 600 BCE. Today’s busy, 21st Century lifestyle precludes time to rest. Instead Western society panders to our materialistic desires, leaving us unsatisfied and spiritually thirsty. In Jeremiah’s time there was a spiritual aspect to life that, on the whole, we have lost. Yet even then the Creator needed to speak through Jeremiah to point people to the source of true and perfect rest. Consider for a moment the words of this well-loved poem by Wm. Henry Davies (1871-1940):

LEISURE

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if,  full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

By not slowing down, we lose so much. Almost three thousand years ago, King Solomon wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) It is when we take time to rest that we can most fully appreciate our spiritual side.

Look again at Jeremiah’s words; it is only by following what is good, being unfettered by conscience or anxiety, that we find true rest. It was Jesus who said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11 v28-30)

Missing the point?

starry skies
From beyond starry skies

“Surely there’s more to life than this?” Many people have a sense that this is not all there is, that outside of this material world, that beyond the blogosphere, the shopping malls and the celebrities – and indeed beyond the poverty, injustice and suffering of this world –there is an intelligence, a presence that we cannot see. Some scour the skies for evidence of alien activity, some avidly research psychic phenomena, some are in continual contact with their spirit guides. Many spend their lives searching for what works, others for what is true.

Two thousand years ago, approximately 4 BCE, someone came to this earth, was born, grew up and lived for over thirty years as one of us, but his supernatural signs and miracles showed that he was someone very special. His wisdom, teaching and authority were far beyond that of human reason. His claims about himself were either ludicrous or true. He claimed to have lived in eternity before the world began (John 17:5); he claimed not only to be the way to God (John 14:6), but that anyone who had seen him had seen God (John 14:9). He not only predicted his own death (Matt 12:40; 17:9), but also his future return in power (Matt 16:27; 24:30).

Surely someone who came with so much love, so much wisdom, so much mystery, must warrant a closer look. If not, we may miss the evidence we’ve been searching for, and spend our lives always looking but never finding the spiritual satisfaction we’ve been seeking. As a Jewish rabbi once wrote:

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17)

May you discover the real meaning of Christmas, and in so doing find LIFE itself!

Belief

“When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing – they believe in anything.” Attributed to the English writer, G. K. Chesterton, the above quote describes the difference between the sometimes irrational and superstitious beliefs of, for example, New Age spirituality, and the perspicacity of Judaeo-Christian belief. I once had a conversation with a pleasant and intelligent lady, who seriously believed that the late Queen Mother had been a lizard in disguise! I trust that the lady felt she had been listened to with courtesy and respect, even though inwardly I was surprised and saddened by her gullibility.

“When learned men begin to use their reason, then I generally discover that they haven’t got any.” is another quotation attributed to Chesterton, but is he correct? Check out the following short video clip of Deepak Chopra to decide.

As the Bible states: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)