By Rev Angela Bosfield Palacious
When I visit the maternity ward and see newborns sleeping peacefully, I pray that they will become great men and women of God in their own special way. I think about the various homes in which they will be reared and desire that they will be nurtured with much love and guided by mature wisdom. Now that I have a granddaughter, my prayers for her will be constant.
The baptism of infants is intended to start them out on the Christian journey while they are still very young with the hope that parents and godparents will teach them the faith and expose them to experiences that will cause them to make a more personal commitment as they grow in grace.
Each day brings us all the opportunity to hear from God in some way. The ever present Holy Spirit is our friend, comforter and counsellor, enabling us to be transformed more and more into the likeness of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The anniversary of our birth is a wonderful day to review our life journey to this point. How have we changed for the better over the years? What are our weaknesses and besetting sins which continue to hamper our progress? Which dreams have been realised and which destroyed or deferred?
October is my birth month. It is a season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness”, the poet Keats wrote in “Ode to Autumn”. The changing leaves in colder climates bring striking colours to once green leaves. Trips in the mountains in Montreal and Vermont during this time are among some of my fondest memories.
How do you like to spend your day? Do you travel or stay at home all day? Do you pamper yourself or reach out to others in need? Do you plan big bashes for those special milestones or do you prefer intimate family gatherings? Are you tempted to ignore the fact that you are aging and prefer not to have mention made of it or do you revel in calls and cards and gifts?
In a few short months we will be preparing for the annual celebration of the birth of our Newborn King and Messiah. The decorations are already on display to entice those who like to begin early to make purchases in advance.
I trust that we are “laying away” our spiritual plans for Advent even now. How will we resist the frenzy of the Christmas rush and focus on being less materialistic and more meditative? How will we show our love toward those less fortunate than ourselves? How will we put Jesus back into the reason for the season?
October is also about harvest and the Heroes Day holiday. November is the American time of thanksgiving and can be the start of Advent. These are wonderful months of joy and love. Why not use them as the chance to be re-born in every area of your life? What would it mean to have a re-birth in your approach to time, worship, finance, service, relationships, and prayer?
When all is said and done, let the things of earth go in favour of spiritual things. In the words of St Paul:
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:7-14 NIV)
Forgetting what is behind and pressing towards God’s best for us, let us work to make these remaining months in 2017 a wonderful new beginning.