In the final days of 2021, everyone seems to be in preparation mode. Preparing feasts for Christmas Day, preparing to meet up with family or friends, preparing to take a break or a road trip after a difficult year … you get the point, it is a very busy time for everyone as we race to get everything prepared.
This business reminded me of a podcast I was listening to earlier, where the author spoke about everything that contributes to an experience. For instance, planning and booking a holiday creates expectation, and anticipation builds until the day of the holiday finally arrives. The author made the argument that the lead up to a holiday is as much part of the experience as the holiday itself.
In this same way, the time leading up to Christmas Day builds our anticipation and contributes to our individual and collective experience of the Christmas season. To this extent I find myself wondering about what we are anticipating during this busy time? Has hope, and peace, and joy, and love been building in our hearts (as Christian believers), or has Covid-19, or politics, or challenging relationships, or economics, or disappointment been the largest contributor to our anticipation, and also the expectation we have for this Christmas season?
Hebrews 12:1-2 underlines what is living in my heart as I prepare for Christmas 2021. As I read the words Paul wrote to the Jewish members of the Church, I can't help but embrace his words for myself and our community this Christmas.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)
Let each of us, therefore, put down those things that hinder us from being amazed in the Glory of our greatest gift - God became human to bring hope, peace, joy, and love. May each of us experience the grace to be able to choose to fix our eyes, not on anything else but Jesus Christ - the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
I will soon be enjoying a few weeks of annual leave and spending the summer holiday with my family. We pray that God will be close to all of us, that we may enter into a new season in the wings of His grace, and that 2022 will be the year when we will see the words of Jesus come to fulfilment - “The spirit of the Lord is upon me … to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour” (Luke 2:18-19)
Thank you for your incredible support during 2021.
Merry Christmas from me and my family to you and yours. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
In His service
Rev. Werner, Susan, Alex and Reuvan