‘Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.’ John 16:30 (NIV).

Winter time always brings back memories for me of my time in the Royal Marines when I was based in Scotland. Even though I had endured five Arctic winters in Norway, my memories were of the chill and wetness of the mountains of Scotland where we trained for days to toughen up in preparation for our trips to the Arctic Circle.

Ever since, I have always enjoyed the warmth and comfort of a home when it is cold outside. I am always grateful just to be out of drafts and to be clean and dry. Our past memories can have such an influence on our present day actions and perceptions.

One of my enduring memories is of when I used to stand on sentry in the mountains when we were on exercises and, in the distance, I could see lights shining from homes and towns below us. I often wondered about the stories of each family and the people who dwelt within.

We are all so different and unique. We all have a past, present and future which is our own personal story. It seems that God longs to be involved with every detail of our lives from start to finish. Even in the mountains as a non-Christian so long ago, I used to stare up and look at the Northern Lights in Norway and my heart longed to know who could create such an amazing sight and also know the details of every human life.

We are created to wonder at creation and to be amazed at God’s ability to create a world that brings us such beauty and detail. This God, who created the universe, has given so much detail into every part of the world. He loves us all so much that He also takes pleasure in the greatest details of our lives.

There is no subject or aspect of our every day that God is not interested in. He carries all the worries and cares of the world. He hears every cry and sees every tear and shout of joy and laughter. He knows every hope and dream and fear and failure, yet He still loves us and is totally committed to us.

He still has all the time in the world for each and every one of us at every given moment. We are all so precious in His sight.

My family know of my dislike for drafts, due to my experience in the mountains. But what about the other things in the past that stop my present growth? My hope is that daily I can come to God and ask to be released from the things that still hold me and stop me moving forward.

We all have so many experiences that make up our lives. It may be that you have some that you want to let go of and find healing from. It may be that you have prayed and prayed for release of hurts and memories of the past. You may be ill and seek healing. Whatever your request, God is listening and He is faithful. The disciples said to Jesus, “You know everything”, and the word of God tells us that He knows our prayers before we speak them. He is faithful and we must never give up praying and speaking with Him, as we would to a loving father.

Christmas time is about the birth of Jesus, the gift that He is to the world. It is a time for family and festivity and can also be a time for reflection and contemplation. Jesus is our own personal gift. When we accept Him, we start a journey of healing and formation that takes a lifetime. Yes, God could fix us all in an instant but what would we learn that would benefit others? We are His hands and feet, we are His mouthpiece. We are to be His light in the world over this Christmas time and winter. It may be that, as we go about our daily business, others may look upon us and wonder what gives us light within, as I did in the mountain tops looking at lights in houses. It may be that we can all share our hope with someone who God brings our way, so that they too can love Jesus and His light.

It may be that our words will bring hope to a person, a home, a community; that our actions will make this Christmas the best of all to someone else. Let’s not forget to love our neighbour and to cherish our families. Why not take some time out to thank God for all the things He has given you. Why not take the time this Christmas period to reflect upon the free gift of eternal life that we have been given in Jesus Christ. For it is in His one single act of obedience on the cross, that we might know what it is to walk with a hope beyond anything that this world can offer us. The real gift of Christmas is Jesus to all people.

Tim Saiet