Fresh Hope – 20th December 2016

My Mother-in-law is a greetings card fanatic.

She just loves sending cards to people, and many would say that it is a gift that she has. She always has something meaningful to write in a card and seems to know just when to send it in order to lift a friend or even someone that she doesn’t really know in their moment of need.

No matter where we go, Gillian has to look for cards of all shapes and sizes for her Mom, but they have to be of a certain standard otherwise they get rejected. Cheap and cheerful will never do.

Not only does she love sending cards, but she’s passionate about receiving them too – in fact she has a system whereby she records every Christmas card that she sends out and then checks in every card that comes back.

Christmas isn’t Christmas for her until all cards have arrived and been crossed off her list, and woe betide anyone that sends a card late or forgets altogether.

The idea of sending presents and cards to only those that reciprocate is a practice that we’d prefer not to admit to, but in reality we know that’s what happens most of the time. How many times have we been dropped off someone’s ‘list’ only to find ourselves doing the very same to them the following year?

In this season of giving and receiving, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we each looked to do something for someone else knowing full well that we wouldn’t receive anything in return?

Random acts of kindness are rare today, but what if we turned the tide on our selfish world and made a difference to just one person’s life by surprising them with a card or gift this week.

The greatest demonstration of giving in this manner originated at that very first Christmas time, when God sent His son Jesus, knowing that He could never be repaid and that many would even reject His offer of the free gift of life.

Let’s each lift our eyes off ourselves today and look for someone to bless and encourage – you may just change their life forever…and ultimately God will bless you back in return.

Luke 6:32-36 ‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Pastor Mark

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