A Christmas Message

Last Friday, we travelled 180 miles (nearly to Doncaster) to pick up an 8 week old puppy – Dottie! She’s a long-haired black & tan dachshund and although not in anyway intentionally, she has immediately made her presence felt!! So much life and bounce in one so small!!

When we picked her up, there was next door to her another dachshund who had just given birth in the night. She had a litter of 6 or 7 puppies who were less than 12 hours old and only the size of a mouse – the wonders of birth and new life!

Then on Monday morning we heard that Alan Liddell died on Sunday night – just 17 days from seemingly perfect health to death. As I write this I am still in shock – I thought he was getting better, I thought our prayers were answered – one moment he’s here, the next he’s gone.

I walked our other dog, Jet, last night. I seemed to be in a sort of bubble. I saw people walking, going round their normal business, their normal lives as if nothing had happened. I was outside looking in. What they were doing seemed so pointless, irrelevant, meaningless. Didn’t they realise …

Why Lord? Why did Alan have to die?

We all have to die

Well Ok, but why now?

Whenever, it’ll never seem the right time

But why didn’t you answer our prayers?

You didn’t know what you were asking

That doesn’t really help!
Why? and why to such genuinely nice people?
And, you say you love us!

Only those who’ve known sickness appreciate health
Only those who’ve known death appreciate life
Only those who’ve suffered can know joy
Only those who know pain can love

Very profound, but what now?

That’s up to you – to love or to hate
to care or to ignore

But I want to cry!

I cry every day
Alan’s OK, he’s with me
it is better this way

Where does our hope come from this Christmas and for the year (or decade!!) ahead. Not in this world, but from above and to the light that shined into this world at that first Christmas 2,000 years ago – and still is shining today – Immanuel – God with us!

Jesus never said this life was going to be easy, but He did say, He would never leave nor forsake us. He is with us in the joys and sorrows of this life, whether we realise it or not – and then assuming we wish it, for all eternity in the next.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light

Let us let it shine in our lives and homes this Christmas
and not just our lives and homes, but let it shine into this dark world of ours which so needs light and hope as we also look forward to the time when all things will be made new

I saw a new heaven and a new earth
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.
Also there was no more sea.
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God
prepared as a bride for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying,
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them,
and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes;
there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.
There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

And so this Christmas, as we celebrate the past,
let’s also look forward to the future.
We have eternity before us.
There will be death, but also new life
in this world and the next.

And whatever your personal circumstances, whatever your joys, whatever your troubles, I pray that you may know the presence and comfort of God this Christmas;

Come Lord Jesus!

Surely I am coming quickly

Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus!