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December 18

Isaiah 61, 2-4

Something to read

And the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

To read the King James Version, click here

Something to think about

So here we are a week from Christmas and everyone, it seems, is running around in ever decreasing circles trying to be ready for THE BIG DAY.

But among all this busyness many people are hurting. Christmas has the habit of reopening deep wounds and bringing back painful memories. For many it is the season of ‘if only’.

God in his great love knows our sadnesses, and His longing is to bind the broken-hearted and bring gladness instead of mourning.

This is at the centre of the Christmas story - not that everything is tinsel-covered and shiny, but that our world is often a painful place.

God does not leave us to get on with it ourselves, but came to live through all the rubbish with us. He is in the business of rebuilding broken lives and hearts, this carpenter's son from Galilee.

Something to do 

Take a deep breath and visit, or phone, or write to that person you know needs it. I know you haven’t got time but this is more important than tinsel - we are apprentices of the carpenter and in the business of rebuilding!

Something to pray

God of rebuilding renew me.
God of gladness make me glad,
God of new beginnings, help me start again.
God of love and incarnation help me share these good gifts,
With those who need them as much as I do.

Nicky Gilbert is a former student of Westminster College, Cambridge.

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