Christmas Sparkle

Staff_team_2015 Posted by Jenny Christie on Mon, 26 Dec 2016 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

I love a bit of sparkle! As an avid charity shopper, my eye is always drawn to a wee garment that is sequined or made of shiny thread – my friends call me a magpie.

At this beautiful time of year, it sometimes feels as if everything sparkles. I especially love the Christmas cards that have actual glitter stuck on – I do realise this is every primary school teacher’s pet hate, but I love the glitter ‘accidentally’ getting all over me after I open the card – admittedly it’s awful when it gets in the eyes!

Drab, dreary streets and houses are transformed by cheerful sparkly lights and even in the CMSI office, we drag out the artificial trees and have much craic putting on lights and decorations (many of which have been made by our Global Partners and are sold in Marketplace , may I add!) Yes, for us in Ireland, Christmas can be a time of sparkle and joy.

However, I recently asked my eldest child whether she reckons she would enjoy Christmas without the lights and the sparkle – essentially without the electricity! She decided that, no, she would not ‘feel’ the same and that the shine would have come off her experience of Christmas.

Of course, I was disappointed that she responded like that, but when I honestly asked myself the same question I realised that I, too, would miss the artificial shine that I – and all of us – add to Christmas. Could I cope celebrating Immanuel, God with us, in a prison cell, or after running with my family from my burning home? Could I ‘feel’ the same joy of the Christ-child when unable to pay for my family’s daily meal? Would I have the same zeal for the celebration of Christmas if I had to lead a church of refugees, many of whom were scared, confused, angry, hungry? Many of our Global Partners are in exactly these circumstances this Christmas.

In the office, we have been following a beautiful devotional that we received from the Bookwell, called ‘The Little Book of Advent’. One of the recent reflections was by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, writing from his prison cell in the 1940’s. As he encouraged his reader to rejoice in our experience of Christmasses past, he wrote,

On Christmas Eve I shall be thinking of you all very much, and I want you to believe that I too shall have a few hours of real joy and that I am not allowing my troubles to get the better of me.”

This made me stop and think – as great theologians and writers often do.

Those hours of joy can be mine, they can be ours, if we stop for long enough to be thankful to God for what we have and to pray for our Christian family around the world, in much different circumstances.

Surely the real sparkle of Christmas is the one that comes from the joy of knowing Christ, sharing Him with others and sharing ourselves with others too? The most beautiful memories of Christmas are those when I have been with others, eating, playing, sharing (the good and the bad!).

As we all approach this wonderful Christmas-time, can I encourage you all to share the beautiful sparkle of Jesus with those around you.

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