Friday, December 29, 2023

It’s all over!

Photos courtesy of Unsplash 

And suddenly, it’s all over!

Once again, after all the adverts, lights, shopping, nativity plays and seasonal films, Christmas is once again behind us and we start talking about “the New Year”. 

It reminds me of my Christmases when I was a boy.  The excitement started building weeks before the big day and the anticipation grew daily until, finally, it was Christmas eve.  As I was packed off to bed, I felt sure I wouldn’t sleep a wink – but I always did.  Then Christmas morning arrived with all the excitement of new toys and, even better, new books.

Christmas day was always special, with the time spent with family and relatives.  But then, suddenly, it was bedtime again and the great day was over. 

When Boxing Day dawned, it was with a distinct sense of anticlimax.  Yes, I still had all the new toys and books, and they would get used to the full over the coming weeks, but the day I had longed and waited for was in the past.  It was history.  For weeks, Christmas Day had been all that had filled my young mind, but now it was just a memory.

I suppose there is always a danger in looking forward to something so much that, when it happens and passes, there can be that sense of disappointment that it is all over.  As I reflect on years gone by, I have to confess that I have never liked things to ”be over”.  Whether it was a holiday, or a special outing or even a board game, I have often felt a sense of loss when things I have enjoyed and looked forward to have come to a close.  On more than one occasion, when playing a board game, I have often asked the people I have been playing with for “just one more game!”

As I reflect on these things, it just makes me realise that we are living in a transient world.  However much we would like the things we love and cherish to last for ever, they don’t.  Everything comes to an end, even our lives. 

When I was a boy, I thought my parents were very old, although they would have only have been in their thirties at that time.  At that time, forty years seemed an impossibly long period of time.  Now, as I look back over the seventy years I have lived, they seem like a moment.
But our lives are really just that – a breath, a moment in time.  God describes it this way – “For what is your life? It is just a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

We make plans for the coming years, but God makes His plans for eternity. So how can we, whose vision is only for the seventy or so years that we have to spend on earth, ever hope to understand something as immeasurable as eternity? 

Yet that is just what God invites us to share with Him.  A life that is for ever, and more than that, a life that is in a place that is perfect in every way. A place free from selfishness, corruption, lies or hypocrisy.  

God’s purpose for you and me is that we should have not just a meagre seventy or eighty years on a flawed world which is full of sorrow or pain, but eternal life in a place which is free from all sin and evil.  To do this, He sent us His greatest gift of all – His Beloved Son, The Lord Jesus Christ.  We remember the giving of that gift at Christmas. But the gift of a child born in Bethlehem led on to the giving of a Son to die at Calvary.  It’s only when you look to Calvary’s cross and see what the Lord Jesus accomplished there that the full implications of that well known verse in the Bible take on its full meaning.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”


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