[notice]A final word from Anna Heydenrych for 2011. Her fortnightly column will resume again in mid January![/notice]
I can remember so clearly the excited anticipation during the lead up to the year 2000. So I can hardly believe we are already on the brink of saying goodbye to 2011!
But then again, when I think of all that has happened, has changed and has come to be in the last decade, it would seem that even more time should have passed.
We are living in an era of exponential development of technology and increase in information. It would be a fair comment to saye that the pace of our lives has quickened. Whether you have willingly submitted to the world’s intent towards greater efficiency of time, or you have joined the rat race with an air of regret, I can only imagine that unless you live in a tree in a forest somewhere without Internet, your pace has quickened too over the last decade (and the fact that you are reading an online newspaper would suggest that you don’t live in a tree without Internet).
So, as the year 2011 draws to a close, and we enter the festive holiday season, let’s do our best to slow down and cherish the special moments we have with family and friends. As I begin to slow down myself, I am thinking about the year past, and the year ahead. I have many things on my mind, as I am sure you do, but here are three thoughts that I would like to touch on in my column this week.
1. Next year things might not be the same.
I am very aware of this thought as I prepare to say goodbye to my sister and brother-in-law who will soon be relocating to the States. As we celebrate this season together as a family, I can’t help but be saddened to think that next year will be different. Though they might visit us, or we visit them, or even if they return one day, we are saying goodbye to an era in our lives that will never be returned to in the same way.
Perhaps next year will be different in some way for you too. It’s often scary to say goodbye to one season and move on to the next, but it’s also very much part of life and God’s design for us. My heart is sad for what has been and gone and will never be the same, but also happy for having wonderful seasons to look back on, and of course excited for the new ones to come.
2. Not everybody is feeling festive
As we all well-know, but often forget, Christmas is a time for us to not only be caught up in our own excitement, but to be available in Christian love to reach out to those who do not have money, family or emotional strength to be as festive as the season would presume of them. Too many people, I fear, feel forgotten and alone at this time of year. I remind myself to not become so caught up in pursuing my own pleasures that I miss opportunities to bring the love of Christ to those in need during this time.
3. World peace is on its way
When I was a little girl, I remember praying earnestly to God that there would be peace throughout the world, and expecting that it really might happen.
When I grew older, it became clear to me that the notion of world peace was a childish one, a hope for something beyond reason. But do you know what I just remembered the other day? God did promise us peace; He sent us his son with a message that a rescue plan is in place, and although we do not know the time or place, our hearts can be filled with the hope that Christ will one day return.
God’s kingdom of peace is advancing and one day there really will be world peace. So, when we pray ‘God let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ we are actually praying for God to usher in world peace. My naive prayer as a little girl is the prayer that I am reminding myself about this season.
When we wake up on Christmas day to celebrate the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ, let’s not forget the profound meaning and cause for celebration. Let’s remember the words of the prophet Isaiah which were later read by Jesus himself in a synagogue in Nazareth at the very beginning of his ministry:
“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”