Food for Thought by Marcia Dixon

There’s a popular song sung at this time of year by 70s pop group Wizard. It says: ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’, and expresses sentiments many would agree with – particularly children.

It’s a fact that for many shops and businesses Christmas is the busiest and most profitable time of the year, as people make that extra effort to buy gifts for family and friends, and special foods to eat for their holiday meal. For a child, the Christmas season is a period of great excitement – the anticipation leading up to the big day, which includes getting lots of presents, eating lots of food, and spending time with family and friends. What’s not to like?

However, if Christians are truly honest with themselves, they know that the message of Christmas is a timeless one which transcends December 25.

The hope and message embodied via Christ’s birth is not just for Christmas Day; it’s something we draw inspiration from every day of the year.

Christ is not a one-off event for us. The positive aspects of Christmas – the showing of love; the donation of our time and money to provide practical help and support to the disadvantaged and vulnerable; the meeting with friends and family to increase the bonds of love, strengthen family ties and deepen relationships – are what we aim to do throughout the year.

So, as we enter the Christmas season, let’s aim to embody the reason for the season – not just during the month of December but also in the year to come.

The question we should ask ourselves is, how do we plan to live out our faith during 2024?

Well, Jesus came to give hope and peace, and likewise, we should seek to be hope dealers – a quality especially needed in a world where we are surrounded by negativity, loss and grief, and in which people find themselves in life circumstances where they’ve lost hope.

Let’s also aim to be purveyors of God’s peace. We live in a world where anxiety and poor mental well-being is at an all-time high. Let’s demonstrate that the peace they desire can be found by accepting God’s Gift of salvation and being in relationship with Him.

And let’s, as much as we can, make every day like Christmas. It will definitely help make life much more interesting, fulfilling and enjoyable.

In October 2023, I was in Holland, at the invitation by Pastor Marjorie Esomowei, to speak at a women’s conference about increasing influence and raising visibility. It was my first time speaking abroad. It was also my first time attending an evangelistic mission in a red-light district.

Pastor Marjorie has led outreaches to Holland’s red-light districts for several years, and when the opportunity came to be part of one I said yes.

About 14 women were part of the party who went to witness to the sex workers in Den Haag’s red-light area. I was paired with Emmanuella, a young woman with a passion for evangelism.

I watched and learned as she conversed easily with the sex workers who were plying their wares in glass booths. We gave roses as gifts to the women. Doing so was the perfect conversation opener. I was struck by the ordinariness of the sex workers, and that many have some form of faith or association with the Church. Not one woman said no when Emmanuella asked whether the sex workers wanted prayer. Not one woman said no.

In those moments I was reminded of Jesus’ words that “the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37).

There are people in this world, desirous – desperate even – to hear the hope inherent within the Gospel and to receive prayer, but there are too few people available to do this important work.

During 2024, let’s seek out opportunities to share the Gospel both individually and corporately. Not everyone we share the Gospel with will say yes, but it’s important that we at least make the effort to do so. 

It’s said that comparing yourself to others can steal your joy, make you feel dissatisfied with their life, and fuel jealousy.

In my mind, comparing one’s life to that of others can indicate a lack of self-love and, more importantly, the failure to recognise that God’s will and path for an individual is often totally different from that of one’s peers, friends and family.

Comparing yourself to others – to the point that it makes you dissatisfied with what you bring to the table – is a waste of time.

Instead, learn to value yourself, remember that you are unique, and God’s purpose for your life is too. And take to heart these words from Scripture: ‘Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of’ (Galatians 4:6 ERV). Amen.

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