09 December 2022

A Christmas Greeting from the World President of Women's Ministries

‘My thoughts of Christmas once, you know,
Were holly boughs and mistletoe,
And pretty greetings through the post
From all the friends who loved me most.
Inside my circle I was kept,
Towards those beyond my heart still slept…
But he woke me up, my Christmas King,
My heart to him he bade me bring,
And all my life to dedicate
To those who still in darkness wait.’

This poem, penned by Brigadier Ruth Tracey, was printed in the 1922 Christmas issue of Canada’s War Cry. Isn’t it wonderfully honest? I love that, despite being shared one hundred Christmases ago, Brigadier Ruth’s words ring so true today. How easy is it for us, in 2022, to be drawn in by the neatly wrapped, perfectly packaged Christmas we are sold today? How difficult can it be for our hearts to receive the gift of Jesus when there are so many distractions?

The truth is that Christmas is and always has been about the hearts of others. The account in Luke begins with God granting the long prayed for desire of Elizabeth and Zechariah’s hearts. The angel Gabriel later reassures the heart of the ‘deeply troubled’ Mary as she contemplates the responsibility that is hers. The same young woman – expectant on the arrival of her Lord – glorifies God with a song that overflows from her very soul!

When Joseph plans to break his engagement to Mary, an angel turns his heart towards what is true and honourable, and he takes Mary as his wife. When the shepherds were shaken to their core, frightened by a heavenly host, the angels tell them, ‘Do not be afraid.’ Later, as they gaze upon the baby they had been told about, they give their hearts to him in an act of worship. So do the wise men, along with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And we are told that Mary – the humble young girl who carried our Saviour into the world – ‘treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.’

Christmas is God saying, 'Your heart - your life - matters to me'


Do you realise that your heart is also concerned in the Christmas story? In fact, your heart plays a significant role! Jesus came down to bring love, joy, peace and hope into the hearts of all people. Jesus was born for you. For me, too! For the world that ‘still in darkness waits.’

Consider what your heart needs to be reminded of this Christmas. What are the truths you know in your head, but want to experience in your heart? Like Elizabeth, are you quietly longing for a miracle that you’ve all but given up praying for? Like the shepherds, do the words, ‘do not be afraid’, need to wash over you with peace and comfort? Are you at a crossroads, seeking intervention and direction over your next steps, just as Joseph experienced? Or do you feel like you are carrying the weight of the world, unsure of how to fulfil the calling God has placed on your life? Like Mary, take heart in the knowledge that God is always with you and allow your soul to sing!

This Christmas, let us not forget that Jesus is God’s gift – personal and individual to each of us – and so many hearts have not yet received him. It is our joy to share the good news with them; the good news that Christmas is more than a few days of festivities. The good news that Christmas is God saying, ‘Your heart – your life – matters to me’. The good news that Christmas means there is no ‘other’ – there are just neighbours, brothers and sisters, brought together by the gift of a shared Saviour.

May your hearts be blessed beyond measure this Christmas.

 

 

Commissioner Rosalie Peddle
World President of Women’s Ministries


Read our four-part Advent devotional, Heart Matters, centred around the characters and themes of the World President's greeting.
Watch a recorded version of the World President's greeting, shared to Facebook and Instagram, below.

Tags: Real Talk