Musings from The Manse – December 2023

We often hear said that we need to shine a light on a particular issue or we are inspired by someone who does exactly that and we might be encouraged to think differently because of it or take action. Indeed, someone at some stage in your life has shone a light for you and me on who Jesus is and what it means to have a personal relationship with God through him.

Out on my recent morning prayer run up Hay-a-Park Lane just up behind the manse, I had been watching the sun rise and on my way back came across this amazing scene that I had to stop and reflect on [as well as take the above photo]. It seems looking at the photo that nowhere can hide from the light of the sun even the shadows are lit by the sun, albeit in a different glow. The sun’s rays shine directly on specific areas of the ground and as with the angels on the shepherds hillside ‘glory shone around!’  It felt so easy whilst there and since, to see how the Son’s rays shine a light on you and me and in the same way we are called to shine that light on others to glorify God. Jesus said;

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5.16

 As we move through Advent into Christmas I bring to mind as I do each year the hymn ‘Love came down at Christmas’, which is a family favourite of ours and says so much about ‘Immanuel- God with us’. Matthew tells us in his birth narrative of the angel appearing to Joseph;

20 While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. 21 She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus—because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 Now all this happened in order to make come true what the Lord had said through the prophet, 23 “A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel” (which means, “God is with us”). Matthew 1.20-23

All this came true and is true as God shone his light on earth 2000 years ago when ‘love was born at Christmas’ and still does and is today. It is that love that we are called to shine on those around us both those we know and those who are strangers. Imagine if the Son’s rays shining through us lit up all the earth like in my photo and the lives around and beyond us all felt the touch of Christ’s light. Surely this year with all that’s going on in the world where there are places and situations where it appears love is lost, we need a new resolve to live like Christ and more proactively love each other.

May you all be truly blessed in every situation you find yourselves in this Christmas and I pray you bring light and love to others and they do to you.

‘May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.’

Your friend and servant





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