November 2012

I guess it did what it was designed to do – to stick in my mind. It did, but probably not how it was intended. In the run up to Christmas the supermarket Morrisons ran a TV advert that followed the experiences of a Mum preparing for Christmas. It began with her waking up to Christmas songs on the radio, discovering Christmas was everywhere on TV, the need to sort out decorations, the Christmas tree, writing Christmas cards to people she once met on holiday years and years ago (and not really remembering why!), children’s nativities – wondering why her child didn’t get a more significant role, but still feeling emotional watching her little shepherd… then there is the food and the annual wrestle “woman against bird” and they all arrive: helper who don’t know where anything is, discovering there aren’t enough serviette rings, candles, hands, time… and finally admitting it is hard work! But then she concludes, “But it is Christmas, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

Really?

I think most people can relate to some aspects of this Mum’s Christmas tale – which is why Morrisons’ thought it was a good idea – but I am not convinced people end on the same conclusion. “I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

I reckon many people would like it another way. Only a few days after Christmas millions of people make New Year’s resolutions wanting things to be another way – to eat less, exercise more, spend less, love more, do Christmas differently next year! Many people widen their hopes beyond themselves wanting to see a difference in other people too: other people caring for their neighbours, stand up against injustice, caring for the poor and needy as much as people care for themselves – basically we would like things another way.

How does such change happen? The answer is not to try harder – if it was, a million New Year’s resolutions of ages past would have transformed our society and in fact world! Nor is the answer to have a rant and rave “Why do I have to do everything!” – once again if that worked a million households Christmases would have changed!

The answer is much simpler and more difficult. To decide to train for change. To make intentional little changes towards a bigger goal.

In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” This doesn’t mean resign yourself to ‘this is how it is’ and suffer in silence (Morrisons' Mum) or to rant and rave at how unfair things are - but to fix our eyes on the one we are following and each day take another step towards Jesus.

I don’t know what Christmas and the New Year have in store – I’m sure we could all make some good guesses – but none of us fully know. My prayer though, is for God to do greater things in and around me, my family, our church, our community, our nation and our world. I want it another way. I also know it won’t “just happen”. I need to decide and follow. When I do that, when you do that, when we do that together, great things begin.

Follow Jesus closely, dream big, be ready.

Have a great Christ-centred Christmas and a God filled New Year..
 
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