As I reflect and look back on 2018 in many ways it has been a difficult and challenging year, personally, for my family but for the nation as a whole.
I imagine most of us will be familiar with the old question "Is this glass half full or half empty?"
The danger for me is that the difficulties and challenges of life can cloud out the wonderful success and joyful moments that God provides and my focus remains on the struggles of life.
A friend was telling me about a recent trip to the Lake District and after walking some distance in the rain and mist the air suddenly cleared giving them a beautiful view of the moun-tains and lakes. The view had always been there but was hid-den in the fog.
What a powerful image of the Christian journey of faith, the power, wonder and beauty of God is always there but so often the fog of life hides them from our view.
It is so easy to get caught up in negative thinking and nega-tive talking, and this can be incredibly destructive not just to ourselves but also for those around us.
In Philippians 4:4 Paul says ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice!’
In the UCB word for today this week I read this reflection on Philippians 4:4
Where was Paul? In prison! Who was Paul writing to? People outside the prison! Why did he repeat himself and say, ‘Again I will say, rejoice?’ Because we forget and lapse back into neg-ativity so quickly. True joy is an inside job that’s not subject to people or outside situations. Jesus said, ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full’ (John 15:11 KJV).
So as I reflect on the last 12 months at Emmanuel church we have much to celebrate. 14 baptisms in one day! New people joining the church with many incredible gifts and talents. New ministry developing through the Elmsbrook church planting initiative, the Orpine Close missional house, Cherish women’s ministry and the extending of our Chaplaincy work.
So whether your glass is half full or half empty this Christ-mas time remember to Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again,
I pray that you may know the joy and hope of Christ afresh this Christmas time.