All I want for Christmas
Last December, cruising through a brand new season of life, I had more time on my hands than usual. So when I heard there was an Advent Retreat on offer, my heart quickened. I knew I had to go for it. A friend and I drove off excitedly, the open road before us and the wind on our faces. I hadn’t a clue about what to expect, but was sure I’d like it. And call it an adventure, we got well and truly lost on our long ride down South. Thankfully, my phone’s GPS came to our assistance and we were able to steer my friend’s car in the right direction. We reached safely—bang on time too, so all's well that ends well. Thank you God.
Us six participants were warmly welcomed by the Director of the Retreat Centre. He explained to us how the day would work and took us on a guided tour of the place. Its rooms were tastefully decorated with simple objects that would aid our spiritual reflection. We were given printed notes to use and asked to sit anywhere we liked. I chose to sit outdoors—on the sweet smelling grass, with the sun smiling down on me and a few busy ants for company.
Lunchtime brought us together again and that was good too—as we shared our stories with each another. Afterwards we retreated once more to our private meditations. It was around 2.30 when we completed the retreat and it was time to go home. But oh dear, what a hot day it was! My friend suggested we stop at a famous Catholic church to view their unique Way of the cross in the outdoors. And so we did, but with the temperatures soaring over 40 degrees, my fibro symptoms flared up. When I reached home I was exhausted, my tongue hanging out and my body screaming in pain. Fibro symptoms and heat don’t mix—it took me days to recover. I enjoyed the experience, but oh for a new body.
“All I want for Christmas is a new body, Lord” I whispered. As I mouthed the words, I realised that I’d sung different lyrics before. For many decades, I had very painful feet which only worsened with time, so each Christmas, I'd sing to God, requesting the miracle of 'two new feet’. And guess what? Our awesome God came through for me big time. In Dec 2014, after two foot operations, I was transformed. I now possess two mostly pain-free, working feet—what a fabulous gift it’s been! Thank you Lord. Thank you.
2015 has been a bad fibro year—probably worse than last year. So yes, a working body for Christmas would be lovely. But you know, God’s been answering my prayers during the last little while and my latest treatment seems to be working. Perhaps I will have a new body for Christmas after all. I am filled with hope.
What do I really want this Christmas? Here's a starting point ...
A world where peace reigns, no terrorism, no wars, no strife.
The elimination of poverty and hunger, disease and suffering.
Every child to grow up in a safe loving nurturing environment.
Families united and rejoicing together.
Thriving relationships the world over.
That the good news of Jesus reaches the corners of the earth.
God’s will to be done in earth as it is in heaven.
As I reflect on what it would be like to have a perfect world, I am transported back to the creation story. God crafted a perfect world you know, one free of pain and anguish. A world where man and beast lived together in harmony. But then came rebellion. Man sinned, and fell short of the glory of God. Suffering entered the world.
All I want for Christmas is nothing new. It’s what God created in the first place and what Jesus came to give us. He was born in a smelly stable 2000 years ago, to bring life and hope for all mankind. One glorious day, the story begun at creation will reach its magnificent conclusion. We will behold His glory—the glory of the One begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. All I want for Christmas is to see men reconciled to God.
All I want for Christmas is Jesus, the Light and Hope of the World!
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father like Son, Generous Inside and out, true from start to finish.” John 1:14 (MSG)