Sunday, 28 December 2014


As the bustle and busyness of Christmas begins to fade and I reflect on the many kindnesses and gifts, I read something poignant from a single mother: " what I wanted most at Christmas time was not a tree full of presents. I wanted to find a way to make what we had be the only thing we really needed. I knew that no one knew how to help. Maybe this was the hardest part of those weeks of Advent — knowing that everyone knew where I was at while we all pretended I didn’t know that everyone knew."

Yes. What I want most, all the time, not just at Christmas, is not presents or things... I want to  find a way to make what I have be the only thing I really need.

I WANT TO BE CONTENT. And while I am not - or so I believe - like the people in Ecclesiastes who are never satisfied with what they own, I recognise that there is always a small part of me which is not actually content.

The Bible teaches how to be content. Proverbs (19:23) says: "The reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it rests satisfied; he cannot be visited with (actual) evil and is untouched by trouble, without fear of danger."

I want to be like David, who says in Psalm 131: "I am not conceited, Lord,
and I don’t waste my time on impossible schemes.

But I have learned to feel safe and satisfied,
just like a young child on its mother’s lap.

People of Israel, God's people,
you must trust the Lord now and forever.

Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!

John prepared the way for Jesus to work in people's hearts by telling them to be content with what they have without greedily trying to get more.

As Paul says: "I have learned to be satisfied with whatever I have.  I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. Christ gives me the strength to face anything. "

We don't need any more. "Godliness with contentment is great gain: A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough."

Hebrews 13:5 says: "Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money (including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions) and be satisfied with your present (circumstances and with what you have); for He (God)Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. (I will) not, (I will) not, (I will) not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let (you) down (relax My hold on you)! Assuredly not!

Be satisfied with your present circumstances. This is my prayer this year. To be satisfied with my circumstances, to be content in not knowing what the future holds for me, where I might be living this time next year, what I might be doing, where I might feel 'at home'  - and to be dissatisfied with my spiritual condition. Living in the tension of the kingdom come now and the not yet. Knowing that my present earthly circumstances are just fleeting in the light of eternity, and being content with where I am and what I am doing today. This hour. This minute.


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