My best friends birthday was approaching, It was a significant milestone. I remembered planning ahead trying to figure out what we’re going to do for her.
I contacted her to find out what she had planned, I persisted in asking her until she said “I won’t be having any celebration”.
I sort of expected it because I’ve known for over 20 years and I have never celebrated a birthday with her or celebrated her birthday. I knew her reasons. However, I did not think that such a milestone would go uncelebrated.
She’s single and not currently in a relationship, she’s approaching the age where having children is considered risky, she’s premenopausal. She is in between jobs and between homes.
The last few years have been really difficult for her having lost her dad, which means both parents will not be around when and if she eventually gets married and have children.
Lack of success and achievement in certain areas of our lives, leaves us disappointed and robbed.
You too may be asking yourself as Christmas approaches, what’s there to celebrate?
There is a perceived natural progression of ones life, grow up, go to school, meet your partner, graduate, get married, have children and live happily ever after.
As I’ve come to know, life isn’t always a straight line from A to Z. Life will take you from N to B and, from S to W and back again from V to K.
Live doesn’t give you what you order, God does. Life doesn’t give you what you expect, faith in God does. Life doesn’t give you what you think you should have, trust and hope in God does.
And as a result of not getting to those milestones we decide what, when to celebrate and how to celebrate.
Celebration is not about things. We celebrate because we look inside ourselves and we know that regardless of where we are and how far we still have to go, we have a reason to be thankful because a lot of people did not get as far as we have come.
We are thankful because against all odds, are still standing. we reflect on the good we have in our lives.
I want to encourage you today, If you find yourself void of joy, void of any enthusiasm to celebrate let the births of Christ inspire you.
What is there to celebrate?
For starters, your health, Your amazing support group, The families in your life. For the strength to keep going, your nieces and nephews, for your job.
Count your blessings, and let your focus well on God’s goodness, not on the absence of should have been.
Our cup is not half empty but half full.
This Christmas rejoice in the fullness of joy that Christ brought when he came into our world. This is why we celebrate.
Here we are, the last day of 2021. We were given 375 days, but not everyone made it to the end.
My prayer at the start of 2021 was for protection, to remain in health and strength. Looking back I can see that my prayers were answered. Of course I asked for other blessings, but I have come to know that lasting blessings are worth more than material wealth or comfort.
As you look back over the year, what blessings stand out to you?
What battles did you overcome? Where there small mile stones you celebrated?
We sometimes over look some blessings because they don’t seem to come front and centre. compared to the big things we asked for.
I get it. For years having a child of my own was front and centre for me as well, it was my number one prayer at the beginning and end of each year.
At some point, I yielded my expectations, dreams and hope to God. I prayed for strength and he gave me strength to continue to expect, I prayed for wisdom and he directed my steps to the right places, he placed good friends in my path a support system through trying times.
These blessings were not front and centre non did they featured in my prayer list at the beginning of the year, but taking stock at the time, they were answers to prayers.
So as you look back, to 2021. Give thanks for those who helped you on this journey, the spouse/partner who stayed and support you. The Holy Spirits leading and the strength to continue and hope on into 2022.
Hope is defined by Webster: “to desire with expectation of fulfil.” Continue to hope in 2022, but give hope wings, infuse your hope with faith in the God who makes all things possible.
Because hope expects, faith believes and receives.
When you think of Christmas and the period leading up to it, I am sure you are not thinking of variants, lockdowns and isolating. .
Lately all we read about is how far covid has spread, the various variants, numbers infected and living under the threat of lockdowns.
Christmas and the time leading up to it, use to be a time of excitement, anticipation, waiting for that gift, looking forward to carol services, the dread of secret santa, expecting friends and family for the pre- Christmas lunch/parties and post Christmas visits.
After the Christmas festivities we begin to plan for the year ahead. But the uncertainty of Covid has caused panic around the globe, the question on everyone’s lips-
“Is another lockdown coming or not”.
The present situation makes me pause and wonder about the few days before Christ birth,
How did Mary and Joseph felt at the coming of a baby at a time of great uncertainty? They had to travel to Bethlehem for the censors.
Making that journey miles away, with Mary only a few days from birth was no small feat. Only to arrive with no room anywhere in town not even in the inn, but in the manger in the inn.
The uncertainty surrounding Christ birth is nothing compared to what we face today.
Mary must have uttered a silent prayer to God. “Remember us lord” Help us God”.“Protect us God”.
I am sure she did, because they had to flee a few days after his birth, on the run to save His life. She must have constantly prayed for safety carrying the promised child.
You too may have had your procedure cancelled or postponed, or maybe expecting after a long wait and living under the uncertainty of what the future holds for you and your child. Under the threat of Covid and other external factors.
During times of stress and distress we often cry out for help, we ask God the higher power for intervention, to step in and often he does.
Just like He stepped into Rachel’s situation and she became pregnant. God stepped in and saved Jesus from being slaughtered.
He will remember you and step in.
He does and has not forgotten you, he knows your name, your situation and location.
Draw near to him now and stay close, and be enclosed in His peace. He will come and he will help you.
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14
What is it, that causes you to shudder? What miracle have you seen or heard about that makes you wonder whether it was true or made up?
Wonder is defined as something which fills you with amazement or awe.
The 7 wonders of the ancient world, comes to my mind when I think of wonder. The creators or designers of those human edifice were considered to be genius at a time of no technological advancement as we see today, they came up with Great pyramids, the hanging gardens, the coliseum and many more.
As awe inspiring as these are, they stand pale in comparison to the Christmas story.
Human beings in their brilliance are yet to make a virgin pregnant or raise anyone from the dead.
That’s the wonder of Christmas, This is the reason we celebrate because of the uniqueness of this story. It is so special that it is still the subject of dispute.
If God can come into our world in the manner in which He did, isn’t He able to come into your own situation and turn things around? Yes, He can and He will.
I dare you to keep trusting, believing and His wonder will be performed in your life.
The wonder of it all.
The wonder of it all, that the pitter patter feet of little feet, would become the thundering steps in hell.
Oh the wonder if it, that the little baby of Bethlehem will become the healer and performer of miracles.
The wonder of it all, that the man who hung on the cross is the saviour who died for me.
The wonder of it all that he now sits on the throne as a king interceding for me.
What would you consider the most memorable time of your life?
Was it when you got married, got your degree, moved houses, got a new job? received a long expected news?
These are all great achievements to be celebrated but cannot be regarded as moments of splendor.
Moments of splendor was when an angel appeared to Mary and the wise men to tell of the birth of Jesus. They fell on their feet and worshiped. As the songs “the angel of the lord came down and glory shone around”.
I sometimes wondered what that moment was like for Mary and the shepherds: Some described their reaction as one of fear, but I think they were dazed, speechless and yes felt fearful, reverential fear.
This advent as you wait on your promise I pray that you will experience a moment of splendor in the revealing of whom Jesus His. May the power which came upon Mary Come on you and strengthened your body to conceive.
Moments of splendor, released by sparkling lights, Of angel piercing the skies, announcing the birth of our savior.
Moments of splendour it was as the angel said Fear not, good news is come Of a saviour born today In Bethlehem.
Such splendour thrills my heart. O the wonder of his birth, to see the glory of Christ our king.
Moments of splendour which brings hope. To know He came to be bruised, to be scorned, to be wounded.
That I might be made whole. In this my faith rest and my heart assured of His promise to me.
If you celebrate christmas you will no doubt have began the process of shopping, planning, and Preparing for this wonderful time of the year.
I love this season of faith, joy, festivities just before the new year, a time when we as a people, all come together in one to make merry.
To remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Certainly for some, this time is now synonymous with parties and travel and time with families as they call it “the holidays”.
But truly, Advent is observed in many Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the arrival of Jesus.
In silence contemplation, not in the busyness of high streets shopping malls.
The early church were told of his coming and prepared for it. Although not the same way we now prepare for Christmas, they waited quietly not in chaos.
They waited in hope of a saviour promised to rescue them from the tyranny of their oppressor.
They waited and expected deliverance and a new dawn.
So you see, the story of Christmas is one of waiting.
For those waiting for a baby, this conjures many emotions.
The last post Celebratory seasons talked about how this seasons maybe dreaded by those waiting for a child, as they observe little darlings in their cute Christmas outfits and plays.
I have walked your shoes, waited for 8 years, multiple miscarriages, multiple failed IVFs, so I can relate to the feeling of dread at this very time. As hope waned, expectations strains, you feel all alone.
But my message to you today is to expect something different, expect to receive literally your desires.
Expect to receive the promise of peace, the comfort that comes from waiting and expecting, expect to be touched by Jesus, who is our Prince of Peace.
And continue to hold on as The angel said to Mary
“Blessed is She who believes, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which where told her from the Lord”.
I urged you to wait in Hope for the expected promises.