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Familiar and Ordinary - Issue 228
December 16, 2011
Hi there! ....

This week we have decorated the house for Christmas – it is always such a fun time and even more so as the girls get older and really take joy in making the home special. As far as study goes, we have packed our books away (or rather my ideas of even looking at books) and have just been doing whatever needs doing. Though we are behind in our Jesse Tree readings we are progressing. We've done alittle cooking and making and wrapping presents. We have caught up with friends: the girls had a movie night with a few of their friends, the boys had a nurf-gun war at a friend’s place, and I had coffee with a few friends throughout the week. Though that sounds like a social week, I have been challenged with the need to pause and catch up with friends – for no other reason than our friendship.

Live life with your kids!

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Has the Familiar become the Ordinary?

I am borrowing a phrase from the sermon we heard at church last Sunday: Has the Familiar become the Ordinary? This has been a catchy phrase in my head all week. I’d like to pass it onto you and have you think about it this coming week as Christmas draws close.

Christmas is familiar. In our house each year we read the same books, we listen to the same music, we decorate with the same decorations, we eat the same food, we go to the same events. It is all very familiar. And in a sense that is what traditions are all about. There is a sense of security with traditions – a sense of connecting. And that is all good.

But what about spiritually?

Reading the same passages? Memorising the same verses? Pondering the same devotions? Is it about tradition or is there a truth that your heart is truly celebrating?

The Bible is the Word of God; we call it the living Word of God. This means that there is truth in it every time we read it. Or there should be. I wonder, if there isn’t that life, if we aren’t considering our heart responses to God and to others each time we read the Word of God if it hasn’t indeed become familiar and ordinary to us.

There really isn’t anything more familiar to us than the story of Jesus’ birth. We know it; we’ve read about it, sung it, re-enacted it, taught it. Has it lost its wow-factor?

When we lose enthusiasm about things today we tend to go and look for something bigger, better, brighter to regain something we feel we have lost. But God isn’t found in the flashy. If we are to rediscover the joys of Christmas – the spiritual joys of Christmas – we need to make it simple.

God’s message to us on the day that Jesus was born was simple: A Saviour is born – for all people.

Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger. Luke 2:10,11

The issue isn’t that we have forgotten this message. Most Christians today are fully aware of the need to keep Christ as the focus during the Christmas season; I think the real heart issue is that this message has become ordinary to us. Imagine the Shepherds awe at being told a saviour was born. Imagine the Shepherds joy at being told this was good news. Imagine the shepherds eagerness to find that babe.

As Christmas is just one week away ask yourself, as I have been asking myself - Do we come to celebrating Christ’s birth with awe? With joy? With eagerness? Or has it become all too ordinary?

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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