Tag Archives: trust

Christmas’ Golden Box

Once upon a time,

there was a man

who worked very hard

just to keep food

on the table

for his family.

 

This particular year

And

a few days before Christmas,

he scolded

his little five-year-old daughter.

 

Because he had found out

that she had used up

the family’s only roll

of expensive gold wrapping paper.

As money was tight,

he became even more upset

when

on Christmas Eve

he saw that the child

had used all that paper

to decorate just one shoebox

she had put under the Christmas tree.

 

He also was concerned

about where

she had got hold of the money

to buy what was in

the box.

Nevertheless, the next morning

the little girl,

filled with excitement,

brought the gift box

to her father and said,

“This is for you, Daddy!”

As he opened the box,

the father was embarrassed

by his earlier overreaction,

now regretting

how he had been angry

with her.

But when he opened the shoebox,

he found it was empty

and again his anger flared.

 

“Don’t you know, young lady,”

he said harshly,

“when you give someone a present,

there’s supposed to be

something inside the package!”

The little girl looked up at him

with sad tears

rolling from her eyes

and whispered:

“Daddy, it’s not empty.

 

I blew kisses into it

until it was all full.”

The father was crushed.

 

He fell on his knees

and put his arms

around his precious little girl.

 

He begged her to forgive him

for his unnecessary temper.

An accident

took the life of the child

only a short time later.

 

It is told that the father

then kept this little gold box

by his bed

for all the years of his life.

 

Whenever he was discouraged

or faced difficult problems,

he would open the box,

take out an imaginary kiss,

and remember the love

of this beautiful child

who had put it there.
That is both and sad

and uplifting story.

 

Yet for all of us

who have reached

a certain age,

we know life

to be both bitter and sweet.

 

But despite that

we still try

to candy coat Christmas.

 

We spend too much,

eat too much

and become couch potatoes

too much.

 

And then…

and then it’s all over.

 

That is the moment

we feel like that father

who opened

that apparently empty shoebox.

 

It’s at that moment,

we exclaim –

is that it!

 

It is that moment,

we feel a bit cheated.

 

However, that feeling

forgets that Christmas

is like that

beautifully wrapped present

the little girl

gave her father.

 

For the true content

of Christmas is invisible.

 

It is the invisible idea

that there is a Creator God

who came down to earth

not as a thunderbolt

but a baby risking human hands.

 

The idea

that he did this

for no other reason

that his concern

for each and everyone of us.

 

The idea

that we can respond

to this unseen present

by showing concern,

companionship and even love others.

 

Since who can doubt

that Christmas

does make the world

a better place.

 

For don’t we greet

total strangers

on the 25th

with a smile

and a ‘Merry Christmas’?

 

Don’t we give generously

to charities

for human beings

in trouble, far and near?

 

Don’t we revel,

if only for a day,

in a peace

that seems beyond understanding

but not out knowing?

 

And the answer are – Yes we do!

 

The Australian columnist

Clive James

once wrote

of visiting Paris

 and reading

the author Albert Camus.

For he said –

I wanted to write like that,

 in a prose that sang like poetry.

I wanted to look like him.

 I wanted to wear

 a Bogart-style trench coat

 with the collar turned up,

 have an untipped Gauloise

dangling from my lower lip,

 and die

 romantically

 in a car crash.

He then decided

quite wisely

to keep the crash

for a more propitious moment.

However, he then wrote –

when you leave Paris,

you also leave behind

 the person

you might have been.

Let us then

not leave Christmas behind.

 Let us not leave Christmas

 like a discarded empty box.

 Let us see more

than its golden wrapper.

 Let us not leave

the person Christmas

 could make us.

Instead let us

open and open again

 the gift of Christmas.

And then blow

its kisses of love

towards people

who need their presence

more than most.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

That dog is Lucky

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named “Lucky.” Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer.

Continue reading That dog is Lucky

Cycling in Tandem

At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong; so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was there sort of like a picture of a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him.

Later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life was like a bike ride, on a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don’t recall when he suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.

Continue reading Cycling in Tandem

Free advert for the Church

Free advertising for the Church.

 

The PR executive crossed his office to shake hands. His expensively tailored suit and designer shoes gave him an natural confidence as he guided the clergyman to a chair. Without small talk, he asked  what his firm could do for him.  ‘My church wants to mount an advertising campaign across the nation – came the hopeful reply. The advertising man  tried  to hide pity since no mainstream denomination could ever afford his fees. Best to let the pastor down gently. So he asked what exactly he had in mind. ‘OK – We thought billboards, bus signs and maybe some television advents’ . There was silence in the room as the businessman sighed and tapped on a calculator. Then he pushed it across the desk. The Minister whistled and got up to leave. He was weary from similarly unfruitful  visits to the city’s PR companies.

 

The PR  Man felt a pang of sympathy.’ Look’  – he said – ‘I have a solution for you! It’s one any Christian can afford’. The clergy man looked perplexed – what could advertise the possibility of new trust, hope and change so cheaply? ‘ What is it?’- he asked.

‘Yourself’- came the surprising reply!

 

Four ways to do evangelism

Many people have slipped into the mindset that evangelism is a gift that some believers have and others do not. The reality is that when someone becomes reconciled to God, He sends them out to reconcile others.

That’s not a gift—we all have the responsibility to take Christ to others.

Continue reading Four ways to do evangelism

Thought for the week – how to wait

I waited patiently for the Lord,

He turned to me and heard my cry

(Psalm 40.1)

 

When was the last time you had to wait in a queue? Well, if you are like me, you start by avoiding them in the first place. Then, if that fails, there is nothing more enjoyable than complaining to the person next to you about the time-wasting.

It seems then we have lost the art of queuing – or more precisely – queuing patiently. This isn’t really surprising as everywhere today we see ‘express’, 24-hour delivery and fast food. Information, television programmes and a multitude of other experiences are split into bite sizes so that they can be instantly delivered an even more quickly consumed.

And that’s why this verse from the Psalms is so easy to read and inwardly ignore. Since the idea of waiting patiently on any one even God is an anathema to most.

Yet, in the end, God is not to be hurried, God has his own timetable, God in Christ Jesus will act only when he is good and ready.

 

How then do we cope with this constraint on our overwhelming demand for the immediate?

 

Well, that seems to depend on the type of waiting we can discipline ourselves to undertake.

For, we can wait aimlessly as if for a bus or train. We can wait complainingly as we do at supermarket check-outs. We can even wait fearfully as we do for that letter about a test result. Yet we can also do ‘Christmas type’ waiting. You’ll remember it from childhood. You’ll remember that expectant, gleeful almost rapturous waiting that dominated our Decembers. You’ll remember, as well, the joy of the waiting’s end – when God was with us.

 

So let’s try this week to wait more patiently on the Lord. Let’s try to be more expectant that God’s timetable will eventually bring the best for us. Above all, let’s look forward to the moment when God answer us handsomely but inevitably on his cue.

 

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