December 17th – Christmas Present

The run up to Christmas is a worrying time for most of us, but it should open up a window into the very heart of Christian prayer. It’s quite touching to see the confidence with which the children reel off what they want for Christmas, never thinking about the cost. For many it’s simply “Anything that I ask for will be given me”. This raises the issue of false expectations, many of which are fed, manipulated and doctored by the advertisers who exploit children’s greed and parental insecurity. Those who truly love their children listen to the requests but, because they love them, they decide how to answer. They don’t give them everything they fancy.Some toys are harmful, some so dangerous that they are crossed off the list at once. Children often do not know what will help or harm them. Thus the process of asking and receiving is a steep learning curve. Take those gifts given which have cost a great deal and are rejected, or taken and mistreated. The play area floor is soon littered with broken toys or missing bits or those 2-minute novelties.
When we pray we sometimes assume that ‘anything we want’ is a fair request. Think of God’s response to hearing our pleas for those gifts which would harm us – for gifts we will reject or ignore, for presents we don’t really need and would soon cast aside, for things other people have received and we ask out of envy. All God’s giving is in pure love for his children, and he knows what we need. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our asking sprang from a desire to seek what he wanted for us, and to be willing joyfully to receive whatever he gives us in the faith that he knows what’s best for us? “What did you get this Christmas?” they asked a boy, whose father had been held hostage for years: “I got my Dad back and that was the best Christmas present of all.” This is from Matthew Chapter 6 v. 6 and 20-21:
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you ….But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
When a child has a nightmare and wakes up screaming it’s not any thing he wants. It’s a parent’s loving arms. Lord, it’s not Christmas presents I need, it’s you.

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Thought 4 The Day

‘The Law is an ass,’ said Mr Bumble in Dickins Oliver Twist. But remember, when hauling packs up a mountain, you will thank God for asses.

Through the year calendar

October 2010
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Click on any previous date in the above calendar to read the relevant Through The Year post
Believe it or Not
Sometimes you just can't believe it's true!
A Word in Time
Life has a funny way of connecting us all!
Cooke's Tour of The Bible
Frank Cooke's journey through the Old and New Testaments
Take 2
Some useful life lessons
Mind Stretchers
An open mind is a healthy mind!
Bible Bloopers
Even the Bible has its funnies!