Christmas Eve is one of the busiest days in any home, with last minute preparations for the ‘big day’ tomorrow. Today many of us will lend a hand at wrapping presents, preparing the turkey and setting the dining table. It’s now too late to post a card, so we may have to make a few phone calls, or send a text to family or friends whom we had almost forgotten!
The last few weeks have been particularly busy for those in the food industry, ensuring that our shops have a good supply of fresh, local produce and festive fancies. We are always appreciative in our Bramley apple industry of the extra demand which Christmas brings for pie fillings, apple drinks and sweet mince, an essential ingredient for mince pies.
Topping up feeders and an extra bit of straw
Christmas Eve is also a very busy time on livestock farms - putting a few extra bales of silage in front of the cattle, topping up the feeders and giving the calves an extra bit of straw bedding to hopefully keep them comfortable until Boxing Day.
Many farmers who have been too busy to do any shopping in the weeks up to Christmas, will make a last-minute dash to the shops this afternoon to get a few presents for the ones they love - at this late stage price is usually unimportant!
Sadly, many people in our modern society have forgotten the real meaning of Christmas and the reason for the celebrations. They think that Christmas is just a time for partying, presents, meeting family and friends, or over-indulging in food and drink.
The real reason for the ‘big day’ is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. The prophet Isaiah, writing in the Old Testament predicted that “to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”(Isaiah 9:6).
Hundreds of years after that prophecy you can imagine the excitement of the shepherds who were visited by an angel on a lonely hillside – the first in the world to know - who told them “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
Another prophesy to come
Once more at Christmas we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus, prophesied hundreds of years before. They are not the only prophesies in the Bible, neither are they the only ones to have been fulfilled. We must, however, also consider the many prophecies which warn us that Jesus will come back to earth again.
In the New Testament Book of Revelation, we read “Look, he (Jesus) is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him” (Revelation 1:7). This will be an even more important ‘big day’ for which each of us must prepare. The consequences last not just for a day, but for eternity, and that’s a very long time.
May Jesus bless you greatly as we celebrate His birthday and help each of us trust in Him as our personal Saviour. When we do, we are prepared for the day when He will return again. I will finish with the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 10:13, who reminds us, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
David Johnston is married to Pauline and they have four grown up children. Since retiring from AFBI Loughgall, he grows Bramley apples which he supplies to local processors and packers. David is a member of Loughgall Presbyterian Church.
His blog appeared in today’s Farming Life, a fortnightly column entitled ‘Good News for the Countryside’, where people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life.
You can look at other blogs in this series here.
Armagh Bramley apple hamper (Photo credit David Johnston).
If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev Kenny Hanna, PCI’s Rural Chaplainat email@example.com or call him on 07938 488 372.