Have you ever been confronted by the question, “What’s really important?”
I recently went to visit my mum. She is 86 years old and lives in a low care retirement village, meaning that there are nurses and staff to help her while she is able to live relatively independently.
I recently visited mum and was sitting talking with her when all of a sudden she said to me, “Where’s Bruce? I never see him any more. He never comes to visit me.”
I quickly replied, “You don’t see Bruce mum?” to which she replied, “No, I don’t see him anymore and I don’t know where he is.”
A little stunned I said to mum, “So, who am I mum?” I had been talking to her for the past half an hour, to which she replied, without missing a beat “You are Bruce.”
Mum has dementia. Slowly she is becoming more forgetful and disorientated.
It seems like only yesterday that I remember this vibrant woman who looked after my four brothers and I with a vitality and energy that seemed never ending. We were her world and she cared for us without complaint and it seemed that no effort was too much effort.
While I know she knew the truth in mum’s eyes her five boys could do no wrong. If you asked mum anytime if we were good boys, her response was that we were “perfect. That we never fought. We did everything asked of us. That we were model children.”
This is not my recollection of my brothers or of me. Mum seemed to always look past our faults and loved us unreasonably.
So often we can see God in the people and circumstances in our lives.
God looks at us and loves us unreasonably not because we deserve it but because of who He is.
He looks past our faults, weaknesses, frailties and inconsistencies and just sees us with the love of a perfect parent which none of us are, including my devoted mother.
So devoted was God the Father that He did not want our weaknesses to separate us from being in full relationship with Him. Because of this He sent His Son that first Christmas to bring a new
Kingdom, a new way of thinking, a new way of being and to deal once and for all with what separated us from God – Human sinfulness.
Christmas was and is a declaration of God’s commitment to us. Even though we live in a world full of terrors, sadness, challenges and injustices that we cannot explain or even justify, we can say Emmanuel – God is with us.
The Kingdom brought into the world by Jesus that Christmas and every Christmas- which requires a special kind of eyesight – the eyes of faith, says life is more than what we see about us or read in the papers and on the web or on the television. The kingdom of Jesus is one that is eternal and everlasting where the weak are lifted up, the first will be last and the last will be first, the poor receive and the hidden are seen. It is a kingdom where the ‘haves’ are NOT more powerful or honoured. Than the “have nots “
In this kingdom a personal, powerful and everyday relationship with God through Jesus is possible, is essential, and is for you today. And it all started at Christmas.
Take a moment to ask Jesus to come to you amidst all the activity of Christmas and reveal Himself to you in your thoughts, emotions and through the people that you meet and hear from.
A relationship with Jesus is, as Pope Benedict XVI said, ”first and foremost an encounter with a person.”
If you feel far from Jesus this Christmas do as I do and say, “Jesus come to me. I want to find you, know you and live with you. I want your guidance. I so often know the right thing to do and I so often choose otherwise. Help me to be who you desire me to be and who I want to be.”
Christmas is a time of happiness and joy because of Jesus coming to give us new life.
I was on a plane the other day and I noticed that the passengers were very noisy. When I looked around I was surrounded by children heading somewhere with their parents to celebrate Christmas.
Children laughed, were surprised by the bumps, loved the food and watched the inflight television screens all the time overseen by a loving parent or guardian. This was my mum all those years ago. Always present, often forgotten by my brothers and I but there to protect, guide and love.
A lot like God really who is coming into our world this Christmas.
Rosemary and I wish you a blessed and holy Christmas.
And remember this Christmas that no matter wherever you are around the world that God is never far from you.