In a few weeks we’ll be moving to live nearer to our children. We won’t see our dear friends as often and it’s not easy uprooting ourselves and leaving our lovely garden behind. We hope the new owners love it like we do.
It takes a bit of effort to go to a place that’s unloved, lacking in personality and doesn’t reach out to us with a welcoming invitation. But I’ve decided I will enjoy this move, unlike many of the 22 others I’ve ‘endured’! I’ve embraced the challenge to establish a new garden, renovate the kitchen and bathroom (with help, of course!), and make new friends in a different church.
This will be the first time we move as official ‘elderly people’! I don’t think of myself as old; in each decade, I feel ‘myself’! In other moves, I’ve never wondered how long I would stay there, but this time I have a different attitude.
One night I said to Maurie, ‘How long do you think we’ll have in the new place?’ What I really had in mind was ‘how much future do we have?’
He had no idea of course so I let my mind lay back and wonder. I should have known that God had heard my earlier question!
Christmas was only a short way off and I began to think about Jesus’ birth and how important it was for the whole world. At that time, people didn’t know that God was about to give his greatest gift to them. I sensed God wasn’t roping me in to tell me something; he was stretching me out to draw me to himself, to his endless life where I would be with him forever! Suddenly I realised that because of Christmas, my future stretches far into eternity!
Why was I wondering about how many years I would live in a small house in a crowded suburb, when I could begin to enjoy the reality of endless life? I’d known all along that Jesus came to die…to give me his life, and that eternity began for me the moment I accepted his sacrifice for all my sins, but I’d never related it to Christmas, to his birth!
Maybe our garden is beautiful, our friends kind and loving and our house comfortable, but Jesus promised a better place, a home with him. I can only imagine how it will be, but I know he never makes promises that he doesn’t keep. He said he’d return so we could be with him always.
A couple of days later, I was reading my Bible as usual and I came upon his words: This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life…The Father loves the Son extravagantly. He turned everything over to him so he could give it away – a lavish distribution of gifts. That’s why whoever accepts and trusts the Son, gets in on everything, life complete and forever!
Wow! What a promise! Any wonder the angel told the frightened shepherds in the fields the night of Jesus’ birth, with the glory of God shining all around them: Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a joyful event that’s meant for everybody, worldwide. A Saviour’s just been born in Bethlehem.
Ever since, those who believe the angel’s words, have been full of joy about Christmas, the beginning of the whole world’s opportunity to live forever in peace. Thank you, dear Jesus, for sharing your birth, your life, your death and your resurrection with me. I don’t have to worry about the future; God has it all in his hands.