The snow in Doncaster may not be quite as deep as on this photo!! But it still looks beautiful. So often in life things and people don’t quite meet our highest expectations. Nothing is ever perfect. This can cause us to live in a state of perpetual disappointment. The truth is that nothing is going to be absolutely perfect this side of heaven and so anything good and pleasant needs to be celebrated even if it is not absolutely perfect. This includes things we have have and the things others do. It can be hard to break free from the tyranny of perfectionism but the first step is surely beginning to grow in gratitude for the little things in life that are good or beautiful… And this includes today’s snowfall!
The new variant and the stories in the media about covid over the last couple of weeks have been scary. The tragic stories of lives lost from many ages groups and backgrounds intensifies the fear. We have the question hanging, “that could have been me?”
What are we to do with all this? How can we navigate this stage of the pandemic?
Firstly, it is more important than ever that we don’t let our guard down, but we follow the guidance carefully perhaps even increasing our physical distance between people and making sure we do not forget sanitising after every contact with things outside our home.
Secondly, we must do all we can to prevent the understandable fear escalating into panic or paralysis. When we feel panic beginning to rise, try to contact someone who you know to be wise, sensible and loving. Tell them how you are feeling and trust their reassurances. Find a good friend who will listen,and of course, at any time day or night you can talk to God about your fears being as honest as you like.
If you find yourself dwelling too much on the news about covid make a conscious decision to focus on something else. When exercising it’s hard to think of anything else! But you may prefer a good book, a hobby and even better try listening to some great worship music that is inspiring and helps you get perspective on life.
Finally, know that you are not alone. Everyone is struggling in one way or another. And despite our challenges we will often find that when we reach out to others seeking to support and care for them, it has the added benefit of talking our mind off our own fears and we seek to be a blessing to others instead.
When life gets tougher many of us go into “survival mode”. We are just trying to keep going. Under normal circumstances many of us are eager to listen and be compassionate and empathetic towards others. But as the struggle increases it gets harder to see beyond our immediate situation.
The needs of those around us are increasing as this pandemic continues and yet our ability to help seems to be diminishing. We need to find help from somewhere for our sake and for the sake of others
When on earth, the compassion of Jesus never ran out. On the busiest of days he had time to stop and listen to those that nobody else would listen to. Even during his arrest and crucifixion he was able to show compassion and love towards others, including those that were hurting him.
We do not have enough compassion. But he does. We may turn in on ourselves under pressure. But he keeps looking to the needs of others.
Jesus’ love and compassion is freely available for us to receive for ourselves and this and equips us to be compassionate to others. The greater our need the more times we need to come asking him to fill us with love so that we have enough for ourselves and for others
Prayer: Lord, I am not coping at the moment. I lift before you my pain and ask for your healing. Lord, I’m struggling to look beyond my own needs please fill me with with and I can then seek to reach out in love to others. Amen.
Lord Jesus,thank you for choosing to come to us in humility and vulnerability in order to live for us, die for us and rise again for us. Your love is extraordinary. Help me to appreciate you this Christmas and every day. Amen
Day 24 prayer On Christmas Eve normally people would be very excited to see family and friends but for many this isn’t going to happen this year. So it is all the more important to be thankful so what we can be thankful for.
Pray today for those that are struggling to come to terms with this very different type of Christmas. Pray that more people than ever put Jesus right at the centre of Christmas and that some become Christians this day
Today we are really grateful for the chance to give out bags of blessing to our community.
We are aware that these bags are only a drop in the Ocean of need and we pray for everyone who is facing economic challenges this Christmas as well as all those were isolated and in physical or emotional pain.
Advent prayer diary Day 22 Today we give thanks for video calls and especially the way so many people have been able to connect with one another through zoom. Today let us pray for those who aren’t able to connect with others through zoom or other means. Let us also pray for internet connections over the Christmas period. Let us especially pray for those who who are feeling lonely and isolated.
Prayer diary Day 21 Today we give thanks for the generosity people show in terms of finances, time and care. Please pray for the St Francis Bags of Blessing project so that the households are blessed by the food deliveries this week.
Today we give thanks for the gifts of those who program computers and make technology accessible so that we can connect with others.
Let us pray for the working of the internet over Christmas week so that people are able to connect. Pray for those who struggle with technology and those who have no access to technology. Despite the disappointments of yesterday’s announcements pray that the lonely are able to make some sort of connection over Christmas week.
Advent prayer diary Day 19 Today we give thanks for meals. It is such a blessing to be able to stop, rest and enjoy meal.
Let us pray for those who worry where their next meal is coming from and those who currently find gathering at the meal table a stressful or upsetting experience and those who miss being able to gather with others.