Today has been one of those days. You know, the kind where the worst you could expect actually happens the way you expected it would, all on the day when you could have done with something much better? Its an occupational hazard for officers to get far too ‘run-ragged’ at Christmas. I’ve really been wondering exactly what is so special about Christmas! It pales into insignificance almost in comparison with Easter, in comparison with Pentecost, yet we’re desperate to feed more, help more, provide more, evangelise more, raise more etc etc than at any other time.

This morning, for the first time in a while, I failed to get my engines running early enough to make sure I had sufficient time for prayer and reading of scripture (it was the case of heading out the door having simply patted the cover of the bible!) to the extent that by the time lunchtime came round, I just found myself standing around shaking my head. I had managed, too, to miss an important hospital appointment because my brain was just elsewhere, on things of relatively little importance in comparion.

Now, its not because of some sort of legalistic lack of formal prayer time that got things off wrong, it was simply about attitude of the heart and mind. Thankfully, the day recovered by around 5pm!

To give my wife a break, I led her little group of ladies in some carols and thoughts this afternoon. It wasn’t planned in advance, but Tracy needed a reprieve. Talking off the top of my head, when it came to giving a little message, I spoke about the real significance of the incarnation of Jesus. Basically, he got invovled with the muck, mess and squalor of our lives and sought to bring about Kingdom presences and reign.

Not sure if the ladies caught on exactly to what I was trying to say, but it was a timely re-revelation to me that the heart of Christmas, incarnation, is one of the principle themes of mission.

This Christmas, I’ve allowed our incarnational presence to be tinselled out of all we’re trying to do here in Torry. If we lose that, we lose Christmas and we lose Jesus in it all. If we lose the strenght or time to allow the incarnation of Jesus to be real to us and to set the tone for our day, we’ve well and truly lost the plot.

Tomorrow is another day. It has to be more about Jesus and following his example as our Cheif Rabbi than it is about what is expected of a Salvation Army officer just short of two weeks before Christmas.

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