Encouragement for the Journey 15 December 2013

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Encouragement for the Journey 15 December 2013

Encouragement for the Journey

Dec 2014 Cafe Church

Greetings Fellow Traveller, 

A few years ago I participated in a conversation with a group of ministers. I vividly recall one minister saying: ‘I struggle to find anything new to say about the Christmas Stories, it’s all been said before.’

I came away from that meeting, with a mix of feelings and thoughts. Since then I have reflected on how I respond to the Christmas stories. Yes, they are familiar, but, in that familiarity there can be authenticity and dare I say relevance.

Sometimes, it is very easy to dismiss a story just because it is familiar, but if we can suspend judgement for a little while, let the story reverberate within, we may feel the quiver of something fluttering, awakening us to its beauty, wonder and mystery.

Imagination and empathy enable us to enter into the world of the story. We wait to hear, this does not happen instantly, it takes time, it is our commitment to listening and paying attention to what is being said, and not being said. We don’t engage in these practices to get something new from the stories, rather, to enable the stories themselves to enrich our spiritual journey and encouraging us to compassion.

In the Advent and Christmas stories, we find ourselves being challenged to make room in our lives for another, to be reminded that some people don’t have what we have, that we can make a difference in the lives of others. It is not what we have that is important, but what we may give to enrich another.

Another important aspect of the Christmas stories which is often neglected is that they are intrinsically related to and are part of the gospel story. When we see the stories as good news, of Jesus coming to earth, they are a reminder we are not left bereft of God’s love and presence. We too can be encouraged to practice compassion every day of the year not just at Christmas. In this we are following in the footsteps of the master Jesus.

Meanwhile peace in acts of compassionate kindness

 

Alf