Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Hope is on the way 3: Christmas preparation is worth it!

Today is the 1st December that means you get one piece of chocolate from your advent calendar. I did get one from my parents but decided to give it away to the library someone else have the joy of opening the door on the calendar and get a piece of chocolate. My joy this year is not having chocolate; unbelievably it is to write a piece of advent writing.

Tia picked up Rebekah and they walked down to the chapel, they wondered who else was going to be there, to their astonishment, no one was there apart from Elizabeth. What a great relief for the young adults.

When Tia entered the chapel, suddenly she went “Now, the Christmas season can start!”
Rebekah and Elizabeth looked at Tia with a funny expression. After they had time to absorb the information and gather their thoughts. Rebekah and Elizabeth said together “Your point is?”

“Well, think about it. With Christmas adverts, decorations and songs creeping into the early stages of winter it seems that Christmas starts earlier and earlier each year. Should there be a point where we say enough is enough? 1st December is a reasonable time to engage with the Christmas spirit rather than 3 months before.

Rebekah goes, “Yes because it gives people who work in retail a break. It would also mean we can remove some of the commercialisation and advent calendar says so.”

Elizabeth follows on what Rebekah by saying, “Yes, I agree with you, to some content. However, mainly I say no because it does not allow for preparation and Christmas is the season of good will and positivity, surely this a good thing we want to last as long as possible.

Rebekah and Tia said “Is it worth it? Is it worth all the effort? Where does the joy in preparation for Christmas when you’ve got a million other things to do, and you can’t even go to a supermarket without hearing Christmas songs?”

Elizabeth took a massive breath and said “For true joy in this Advent time of Christmas preparation. Put yourself in the sandals of a poor woman who came from a nice family, married a handsome prince, but rebelled, ran away, and ended up in the gutter as a prostitute, beaten down, covered with sores, coughing, hacking, wheezing, dishevelled, and dirty and huddled in the rubble of a bombed out city. She reaches into her pocket for a half-used Kleenex to wipe her runny nose and discovers a crumpled piece of paper with a poem from the prophet Isaiah, a song that causes her heart to warm up and makes it seem like the sun just broke through the dark clouds. The message? A prince is coming and announces to her, “I’m going to marry you.”

The poor, destitute prostitute found joy in the call to prepare for the arrival of her prince. Her smile widened and her whole face lit up as she unfolded the poem from her pocket and read about what he would bring her. “The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: ‘Say to the Daughter of Zion, “See, your Saviour comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him (Isaiah 62:11)”. Normally, a reward is something earned. “

Rebekah had a provocative question to ask Elizabeth. “Nevertheless, what could that poor, broken-down woman earn other than contempt and ridicule? What reward had she earned?”
Elizabeth answered Rebekah question. “The answer is nothing. However, her prince had gone into battle and conquered his worst enemy and hers. He earned the victory and brought that victory, his reward, as a gift to her. He promised, “I am going to marry.”

Jesus once told a story about ten bridesmaids who were supposed to welcome the groom to the wedding reception. They knew he was going to arrive soon but did not know exactly when. Five bridesmaids had their lamps lit. Five did not. Five were prepared. Five were not. I am going to add one element to that story – the bride .The wise bridesmaids had plenty of oil to keep their lamps burning. Don’t you think the bride did, too? Don’t you think she would let the lights of her house appear as she looked forward to her groom’s arrival, especially if she happened to be that broken-down woman who had pulled Isaiah’s poem from her pocket and read about her prince and all he would do for her.

Rebekah being Tigger” That reminded me a song. You know the give me oil in my lamp?”

Tia went “No!”, Elizabeth said “yes”. Since Rebekah said it, very loud, even Pete said “Yes” and even hymned the tune. That only meant one thing, to sing to the first verse and refrain.

1 Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.
Give me oil in my lamp, I pray.
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.
Keep me burning till the break of day.

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King of kings!
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King!

2 Give me love in my heart, keep me sharing.
Give me love in my heart, I pray.
Give me love in my heart, keep me sharing.
Keep me sharing till the break of day. (Refrain)

3 Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing.
Give me joy in my heart, I pray.
Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing.
Keep me singing till the break of day. (Refrain)

4 Give me faith in my heart, keep me praying.
Give me faith in my heart, I pray.
Give me faith in my heart, keep me praying.
Keep me praying till the break of day. (Refrain)

Try again they sang the whole song. Who would blame them, such a wonderful hymn? Don’t you think?

Elizabeth ended the book club with “Prepare the road to your heart, prepare to receive the reward your Prince brings, and prepare to enjoy your new status. Our Saviour is coming, and that is what makes all of our Christmas preparation worthwhile.”

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