I wrote this on FaceBook exactly a year ago but decided to repost it here on my blog:
"Yesterday was a day of mixed emotions. Our second daughter would have turned 22 yesterday had she lived. Rob and I took the day off to spend together and because the weather was so bad we decided to venture into town.
We popped into the bank, and while Rob was standing in the queue, I got chatting to an older lady who said she’d only come out as the pain from her gall bladder abscesses was so bad she couldn’t stay at home. She was 86 but didn’t look it. As I prayed for her, I told the abscesses and the pain to leave and for the healing power of Jesus to come. She squeezed my hand so tightly my ring cut into my finger, but she was so overwhelmed by the presence of Jesus, she couldn’t let go as she told me the pain had all gone and that she loved Jesus!
Hearing the Christmas story each year, we can dumb it down to simply a children's nativity play or choir boys in a high church setting, but re-read the gospels as though hearing for the first time, and you'll realise how religious we've made it. What actually happened was to ordinary people like you and me. And just like us, they had to work out what to do, and those choices would affect the history of the world.
And how did they do that? They came into alignment with God's plan for their lives by paying attention to their dreams, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and communicating with angels.
I was thinking of the Christmas story and how ‘wise men’ followed a star and discovered Jesus, the Messiah. It just dawned on me that the word for ‘wise men’ in the original text in Matthew 2 is ‘magos’ which actually means ‘magicians’ or ‘sorcerors’.
These men were Eastern mystics: they weren’t Jews or religious types. They were astrologers and soothsayers. But in their hunger and quest for the things of the spirit, they saw a sign in the heavens – a large star. Because they were used to interpreting heavenly signs, they deciphered that the ‘King of the Jews’ had been born and they wanted to worship him.