AT THE beginning of the month I had the wonderful gift of having a few days away.
For me this is a truly ridiculous time to do so, but on reflection it was a worthwhile exercise.
Not only was it refreshing, but it was also a chance to stop, reflect, think and pray about all that has taken place across the year.
It was a chance to deal with some of the things that had caused me pain, as well as an opportunity to celebrate some great things that took place.
It was therefore truly life giving!
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THIS WAS the original intention of the Season of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas).
Over time, like many things, it has instead become more hectic than ever – there seems barely a free moment to sleep, never mind stop and think.
Originally we would have spent a great deal of time preparing ourselves for Christmas Day – an opportunity to not only celebrate the birth of Jesus, but perhaps to also welcome some of the gifts that Jesus brings: hope, love, joy and peace.
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THESE ARE gifts that, in my experience, only come after we have been willing to do some of the hard work of the heart.
Taking time to truly reflect, think, pray and wrestle with our lives, where we are going, and perhaps who we have become.
This takes a great deal of time and energy, and most importantly this also requires the input of a loving God who is able to carefully work with us, leading us forward, and revealing to us a life that is full of wonder and awe (often lost in the busy-ness).
For Christians we believe that God is able to do this because in Jesus we have a God who became as one of us (Emmanuel), and therefore understands us.
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SO, PERHAPS as you enter into Christmas Day and then take a few days to slow down, you too might contemplate using those holidays and making them ‘holy days’.
A time where you might be willing to do some of the hard work of the heart.
It is never an easy thing to do, and can even be scary, but I assure you that if you invite Jesus into that process, the journey will end with tears of joy, and new life!
On behalf of the Inter-Church Council of Hunters Hill and Gladesville I wish you a happy and holy Christmas, and hope your might consider starting that process by joining us to worship the one who can bring new life.
Reverend MICHAEL ARMSTRONG is the Minister of All Saints Anglican Church Hunters Hill.