This is the usual time of year where I moan about Christmas and the craziness that has nothing to do with the Birth of Jesus but today I wanna reflect on the year which is almost ending, 2016 seems to have “claimed” a lot of celebrities, there has been a lot of mourning of the numerous famous people that the world has Idolized and considered “Extra-ordinary!”

There has also been a few deaths “closer to home”, a friend of mine passed away this year, I never had chance to meet them in person but we spent time chatting online and they were one of the editors of a blog site where I had been a contributor, I saw them live stream as they got married and they only just graduated from a course before they tragically passed away!

One of our cats was on her “last legs”, she couldn’t even manage to leap over our babygate and spent a large amount of her time laying on a towel in our kitchen, so we had no choice but to have her “put to sleep” as we would not be able to afford the treatment even if she was able to be treated!  The sad part was that she was the replacement for my wife’s other cat who was suffering in a similar way until I had to take her to the vet 6 years ago!

But more recently there was another tragedy in my neighbourhood, there was a lot of media attention about it and someone even commented how “close” our community was, I couldn’t help thinking how little I knew the people involved!

I have been involved in many funeral services, working “behind the scenes”, I have noticed the marked difference between those that know where their relative is “going”  and those that have no faith!  When we know our relative is going to heaven, we know they had a relationship with God the father, son and Holy Spirit, we are not overwhelmed with sorrow but we have a wider perspective of the fact that they are in “glory”, “feasting and partying with the saints”!

But I often feel saddened when I hear of the wonderful experiences that the older people have had and I knew none of it!  One older lady commented to me about how often she hears the speeches, which make the relatives giving the obituary sound like they loved them dearly and they will miss them terribly and she is sitting there thinking “If you miss them that much why didn’t you visit them more?!”

So I am reminded of this video, how many families neglect each other throughout the year? No wonder families often have arguments and tension around Thanksgiving and Christmas, if they saw each other more often they would have better relationships with each other!

On a happier note, things have been incredible this year! I have almost finished a course, which I thought I may never achieve, when I got the feedback from my first submission I was gobsmacked about how well I did and how positive the guy who marked my work was!  Our pastors suddenly remembered how before I left the church about 12 years ago, I was preparing another sermon, so they asked me to preach, I was nervous as anything but as we now have two services the first attempt was more of a practice for the second service with more attendees!

The food bank that my wife runs has gone from strength to strength, there has been so many families helped! We are in talks with the church to get another shed as donations continue to come as and when they are needed! There are at least 4 families that will have something to give their children this year, when they were thinking that they were going to struggle as other families have responded to the request for items which can be given as gifts!

I know that I am blessed!  Admittedly I was not as attached to those celebrities as other people, I was saddened by our cat passing and my friend dying so suddenly but everyday we are called to “share the well”! I have all I need, Every year I can look back at the stupid things i have done and feel regret, but I can also look back and see how awesome God has been in my life and in those around me!

Christmas may not actually be chronologically the anniversary of when Jesus was “given to us” as a “Wonderful Counsellor”, “Prince of Peace” and a physical representation of the “mighty God” and “Heavenly Father” but the truth that God’s storehouses overflow and he has all we “need” is what we need to hold on to, if all our “needs” are met then what we have remaining we should share to those in more need!

Have a Blessed Christmas!

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