ACW

ACW

Sunday, 25 December 2016

What do you want for Christmas? by Fiona Lloyd


I have a rhythm game I play with my pupils at this time of year: it’s a seasonal version of Old MacDonald. Instead of the usual words, we have:


Father Christmas had a sleigh.

Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!

And on that sleigh he had…


The children’s task is to supply ideas as to what Santa might be bringing with him, which then form the basis for rhythms they can play on their instruments. Puppies and games consoles tend to dominate the list, along with a selection of on-trend gifts I’ve never heard of. (Must be my age…) Occasionally, some more discerning child will brighten my day by saying they’re hoping for a book.



When it comes to my turn to choose, I stick to the same request every time. “When my children were little,” I tell them, “I always used to tell them I’d like a nice cup of tea.” This statement provokes a mixture of bewilderment and hilarity, as poor Miss has obviously gone completely loopy.



It’s fair to say, though, that I’m often clueless about what I’d really like for Christmas; much to the frustration of my (now adult) offspring. Time with family and friends seems increasingly important, but it’s not something you can wrap up with a shiny ribbon and tuck under the tree. And while I recognise that exchanging gifts can be a valuable expression of such friendships – I love choosing presents for others – I don’t want to get so caught up in the frenzy of acquisition that I forget to consider the millions around the world who struggle to obtain even the basic necessities of life.



It’s a delicate balance: there’s nothing wrong with wanting to bless those closest to us, but if that’s all we do, then we’re missing out on the heart of the gospel. I suspect I’m not the only one who has found the news stories – filled as they are with human suffering and acts of hatred – overwhelming this year. There is so much need in our world that it feels difficult to know how to respond, and we may wonder if our efforts will make the smallest scrap of difference.



Two thousand years ago, the Jewish people were eagerly awaiting the coming of their Messiah. They wanted a strong and brave warrior king, a biblical super-hero who would drive out their enemies and make them into a great nation once more. But God in his wisdom sent not what they wanted, but what they needed, as an insignificant teenager gave birth to a tiny baby, who one day would become the means by which we were reconciled with God.


The miracle of that first Christmas reminds me that transformation must begin in my own heart, and that it is only as I allow God to change me that I can understand how he wants to me to help others. He does not expect me to mend the world’s problems on my own, but will direct me as to where – and how – I can serve him. The greatest gift I can bring to the manger is my willingness to listen (and respond) to the Holy Spirit as he shows me the best way to reach out to those in need this Christmas.

On behalf of ACW, may I wish you a peaceful and Christ-centred Christmas.


Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship leading team at her local church. Fiona self-published a violin tutor book in 2013 and blogs at www.fjlloyd.wordpress.com. You can find her on Twitter at @FionaJLloyd. Fiona is vice-chair of ACW and is married with three grown-up children.

9 comments:

  1. Thank you Fiona. A,beautiful remainder of what Christmas is about

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  2. What can I give you? Give my heart, as the old carol has it. Well said, Fiona. Happy Christmas, all Morethans, out there.

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    1. Amen to that, and may everyone's day be blessed

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    2. Thanks, Fran (and Aggie). Happy Christmas to you, too. xx

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  3. What a great post, summing up how so many of us must feel. Happy Christmas Fiona to you and yours, and may you hear His voice behind and before, as you walk through 2017 xx

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    1. Thanks, Deborah. Blessings to you and your family, too. xx

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  4. Thank you, Fiona. Sorry to come in so late. Christmas, you know.

    We all feel overwhelmed by the world's problems and feel we should be 'doing something', but we can't do anything ourselves, only through praying, through God and together.

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  5. Thanks, Rosemary. I think the challenge for me is to remember I can keep bringing it back to God whenever I feel overwhelmed.

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