Tuesday, December 27, 2005

In Which There Was Yuletide Doggerel, Gingerbread, Carolling, Reunions and Plans for the Future

T'was the night (and one) before Christmas, when all through the house, all the creatures were stirring (pots of chocolate), with nary a louse. The gingerbreads (and others) were built on strong foundations with care, in full knowledge that Jesus would soon be there.

And all thanks to Faye and Claire and Bernard Who Bends, pretty stacks of gingerbread people for colleagues and friends. And later at parties with mince pies in tummies, and turkeys and mulled wine and Santas on Harleys, the people sang carols but some didn't believe, the birth of our Saviour who died so we'd live. And how shall we celebrate while dead in our state, for doubtless and sure we will go to our fate.

Doggerel above thanks to the Visiting "Poet". ;-)

The long Christmas weekend was all the smell of freshly baked goods, gingerbread on clothes, sugar frosting in hair, eating candied decorations while waiting for baked goods to cool, cookie cutters left out to dry then retired for the while, enough colourful sweets and chocolates of all flavours and sizes to make a wildly successful Halloween kid do a double take, loads of carolling, juicy turkeys expertly carved, fat sizzling fat sausages, honey-baked ham studded with pineapple and cherry chunks, floor space piled with pretty wrapping and ribbons pulled off wonderful presents, then more carolling and twinkling Christmas trees, open homes and grand parties, wild dancing, the warm smell of pine, pots of mulled wine, last minute wicker baskets ladden with goodies, coldish Christmas and Boxing day morns to dally over hot mince pies with dollops of brandy butter melted over and cups of rum tea, rainbow streamers and confetti in hair, new friends made at parties, unexpected bells from old friends overseas and shimmery glittery cards from even older friends in wintery climes.

Best of all, everyone taking the opportunity to share the good news because every once a year, even staunch suspicious atheists aren't humbuggy enough to refrain from belting out praise and adoration of Jesus as king, ruler, lord, saviour and God in carols.

And it may not seem much to merely tell the simple gospel story and reason why we rejoice at the birth of a wee baby 2000 years ago. But we never know how God works through even the little we do to turn the hearts and minds of others towards him.

"So", someone asked a couple attempting to feed their energetic kids at the table,"how did you finally come to settle down in ARPC?"

"Yes, how?" I wondered, having known them for quite some time.

They looked at me curiously. "You brought us here and settled us down? And you were right about the good solid bible teaching and gospel-centred, Christ-centred preaching, so we stayed."

Couldn't recall having done anything at all. And so it is good that God choses to work even through mindless memory-like-goldfish, blur-like-sotongs to grow his people in love and knowledge of him. Phew. Thank God!

And so there was also alot of excitement bouncing off great plans for the future in between endless bites of turkey and glasses of wine: plans for DGs and loving and encouraging dear members, ministries to the unreached, Moore graduates going on their way (and so perhaps Choong Chee Pang rejoicing), Phillip Jensen addressing the mainland Chinese next year, John Chew being made pointy-hat Archbishop of South-East Asia, mergers and amalgamations of ministries for the proclamation of the good news, potential partnerships in the gospel, The Campus Hub with PSPC (Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church)...

A very very exciting time indeed.

However, we know that God is sovereign in all things. So the LORD works out everything for his own ends — even the wicked for a day of disaster (Proverbs 16:4) and though in his heart a man plans his course, it is the LORD who determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

So though we seek the salvation of all by bringing the message of salvation to all, and though we seek to please him who is our master, lord and God, we must ultimately say with James,
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"-- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that. (James 4:13-15)

To preserve anonymity, images thanks to Getty Images and sydneyanglicans.net.

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