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Redeeming the time - Pastor's Pen for 25th December 2022

Torpedo Bay, Devonport, from the clock

Apostle Paul urges the Ephesians; 'Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.' (Eph 5: 15-16 NIV) There is a clear logic written, in that we only get so much time on this earth, so we better use God's gift wisely.

I was glad I got up early Monday morning to watch the FIFA World Cup final. I had no real stake in the game since England were knocked out days ago, but it was an absorbing match between France and Argentina with some moments of magic football. It was described by one breathless commentator as; "One of the greatest football matches that has ever been played." Lionel Messi got his long hoped for moment of glory.

Those players began the week full of hope, anticipation and expectation. Both teams were full of people naturally gifted in the art of football, but also astutely coached and with disciplined training. None of them got there but sitting around dreaming of what might be. They spent the previous months and years, perhaps most of a young lifetime preparing for the task, the elite pinnacle of their chosen career.

We may not ever be classed as elite at anything, but we can be the best version of ourselves with the time God has given if we use it wisely. Not everything will go well all the time. I've just been listening to Genesis and Exodus on my audio Bible, and it does seem the Israelites bungled their way forward from the beginning. I'm not sure where people get the idea you have to be perfect to be a follower of God. God's people seemed to lurch from one crisis to the next (Moses wringing his hands, God rolls his eyes). Even the heroes of faith do dumb things.

All human endeavours have their limits, I will have forgotten the superlative game of football by New Year. However, in this Christmas week, we remember the time that Jesus, Emmanuel, 'God with us' had on this earth. It is a redeeming use of our time to reflect on his birth in this season, and what the implications of his life, death and resurrection hold for us all. May you know the peace and presence of Christ this Christmas.

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