I always find this day a strange day. After all the build-up to Christmas, all the festivities on the day, the food, the booze, the t.v. and most importantly of all the opportunity to worship with others the Lord Jesus Christ, I find that today is something of a non-entity. Every fibre of my being wants to be up and about working or at least pottering and yet I`m expected to sit and do nothing.
Wikipedia describes today as a day traditionally set aside for wealthy people to give a boxed gift to their servants, but as fewer and fewer people have servants these days the original meaning has been lost and forgotten. Consequently, it is a day remembered only for the obscene amount of retail activity as the sale season begins less than 48 hours after the Christmas shopping has finished, AND ALL OF THIS IN A TIME OF RECESSION !!!
Normally Alison and I manage to relax on boxing day if only by being incredibly lazy and putting ourselves down in front of the tv watching some mindless film. However, we have had Alison’s Mum staying with us over Christmas so we have spent a lot of time trying to keep her company. Today, Alison had to go to work and I had already arranged to go and see the football at Alfreton Town with Rebecca, so Freda was set up with a recording of her favourite ballet “The Nutcracker Suite”. When both Alison and I got back we simply sat talking with her about past times and so we relaxed in that way.
Also this afternoon, just to show what a mixed day it was, I took a difficult phone call about a distressing pastoral situation within my circuit. I found this quite upsetting and I am trying not to take it personally as a betrayal of trust. It goes to show that even on a national holiday such as today, I still have to be concerned about my people. This is what many fail to understand; it is hard to `switch off` when you truly care about a body of people. It means you take time at a more relaxed pace whenever you can but you are prepared to pick up the pace when necessary. That is Ministry.
And so its been a mixed day, enjoyable in parts, frustrating in others, and downright angering in others, but in so many ways this is life isn`t it ? God never promised any one of us that life would be a bed of roses and often it is anything but. This life can be absolute rubbish at times but at others pure enjoyment and awesome. And this is the world that our Lord Jesus stepped into; not a sanitised perfect world, nor an absolutely evil world but a world which contains a mixture and variety of situations, emotions, responses and so on. Praise God that He was prepared to come out of the glory of Heaven into such a world as this.
Miracles ? You want to see miracles in order to believe ? We`ve just celebrated the greatest miracle of all, the love of God becoming incarnate in the stable, leading to the mixing with societies outcasts as well as leaders, and ultimately leading to the cross to die for you and I. Maybe Boxing Day is a day of reflection over that miracle.
I pray that as you reflect on the last few days with all of its happenings, you will come to the same view as I do………………..that God is truly to be praised. Hallelujah !!!