This guest blog comes from one of our leaders: Ken Williams.

Christmas to now… what a challenge!

Christmas 2019 – Family time celebrating Jesus’ birth for an elderly couple – Judy working 3 days a week; Ken busy with church matters and servicing home with shopping/finance and minimal household chores (save grass cutting and washing) and the great privilege of walking our 13 year old Labrador in our lovely wooded areas.

Now, 2020 – having survived the “monsoon” with its huge flooding we are in almost total lock-down- getting out only to walk Tywi – taking part in virtual small group, church services and prayer- relying on very kind neighbours and granddaughter for shopping- this a real blessing!.

Enough about us; how about you? How are you coping with unprecedented restrictions. Such changes to daily routines and only that if you have developed a pattern for each day. Some are working from home – others working at essential activities. Youngsters are home-schooling and trying so hard to use up their energy and getting used to different meal patterns.  I wonder how many parents and teenagers are coping with the almost inevitable irritations which arise when their regular busy lives are crammed together within 4 walls and a garden much more than usual and for some all day every day. All people are different with differing view on the routines of life. When two and often more viewpoints are in such close proximity for extended periods then flash points occur.

One mum said “It’s only the second day of home schooling and I’ve already had tantrums, stamping feet and shouting and that’s just me.”

Just step back a little – how important – really important are those differences in God’s Plan. Those variations make up our personality. Will they matter in a few month’s time? Do they matter now? No! Just use (maybe try at first) the time together to grow closer in love and understanding and love. Do not worry; I know too well that is so easy to say and so hard to put into practise.

It reminds me of the AA saying “even this will pass.” And if God calls one of us home – very sad  though it will be – in His timing He will call each one of us to leave this world – our temporary home – to a life of eternity with Him. Whatever challenges we face He is still God – The Great Unchangeable I AM!

Roy Lessin’s words are so comforting:

We are the sheep He has come to shepherd, to guide, to feed, to protect, to shelter and to carry .

We are the ones He calls His own.”

I have been drawn into considering the words in John 15:16.

“You didn’t choose Me remember; I chose you and put you into the world to bear fruit- fruit that will never spoil.

As fruitbearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to Me He gives you.”

What a promise! Jesus chose each one of us – He chose to love and to die for us; to invite us to live with Him forever.

We make the next choice – to accept or reject; yet without His Choice we would have had no choice to make. Does that put our present predicament and those “minor irritations” in perspective?

In the same passage Jesus tells us that the world hated Him and that we will meet the same reaction. There is no doubt we need all the possible love and support from each other and particularly at this time. We need to accept the strength and power of Jesus – His grace to help us see clearly – to love one another and also love your neighbour.

That excites me so much because there are images of how God can use the huge outpouring of help and support of neighbours/family and especially the massive number of volunteers willing to help in caring for and nursing those in need.

I close with the prayer that in such an upsurge of love and unity among believers that God might use that to touch the hearts of people worldwide so that there may be a great peace arising out of what seems to many in our world a devastating tragedy, and even Revival may be within God’s Plan.

To sum up: families can grow closer; the people in our nation can come together; the continents and the whole world-God’s world – all 7 billion – can inhabit a world which can never be the same as it was last Christmas.