It’s a fresh morning as I go out to turn on a sprinkler at the front in preparation for a very hot day. The grass is dewy, the air smells damp and the shadows are still long. It’s a summer morning that refreshes you and draws you outside before the sun drives you back into the AC by morning tea time. It’s a great time to praise God for his steadfast love that is new every morning. Great is God’s faithfulness.
Whatever the history or the tradition for celebrating Jesus’ birthday on the 25th December, we may understand the need to celebrate light breaking into the darkness of winter and cold in Europe. I have celebrated northern hemisphere Christmases – scarves, gloves and coats and icy feet an noses while holding candles and singing of Christ’s coming in the “bleak mid-winter”.
God sending light into the darkness and angel light breaking into dark skies has a special meaning. But for us Southerners? Light? I don’t need more light. We draw the blinds, put on our hats and sunnies and put up the beach shelters. Too much sun; too much light. We need refreshment; iced water, shade and a cool change! Let’s plunge into the fresh waters of the new aquatic centre or dive off the end of the jetty.
And that is Christmas. Jesus coming to bring the water that relieves thirst, washes cool and washes clean. It’s not just a splash or two, this is plunging and soaking, purifying and rehydrating. Here is refreshment at the end of a long year and refreshing to start the new. Here is new life and new beginnings; a chance to take off the old and put on the new.
This is more than making new year’s resolutions, this is a refreshing that not only helps us take off the old, but actually puts it in the tip and burns it up forever. This new beginning in the new life of the baby Jesus enables the old to be done with and brings up a whole new set of clothes – a new way of living and seeing the world. We are invited to be part of this new life and be part of God’s family in a new way.
As Christmas moves into Christmas holidays and onto new year preparations, be refreshed in the living water that is God’s everlasting gift.