One of my least favourite things is shopping. Food shopping is one thing but going to town, not really my thing. In fact I very rarely go to town, and most definitely only go if I have a specific reason for doing so. For some the weekly trip to town can be a highlight, browsing the shops, meeting family or friends for coffee all of which are good solid reasons. For me it’s a no no. Sorry to all those who love the town, which ever town that might be. It is clear to see that on the odd occasions that I do actually venture into town that lots of others choose to do the same. Now with the build up to Christmas it will get even busier, with the inevitable lack of parking spaces, crowds will flock to pick up that ideal gift. Card shops will be full as we scour the shelves for the right card saying the right words that we might send to the right person. I take it by now you have got the message; I am no lover of going to town. However, passing through the town this afternoon on my way to Beacon House I was struck at how many empty/vacant shops there were. We are used to hearing news now about some large company that once graced our High Streets going out of business or as the term says “Going into Liquidation” here are some to remind us:- JJB Sports, Comet, C & A, Athena, Peacocks, Dewhurst the butchers, Barrett’s Shoes, and of course probably the two most recognised and the two most missed, Woolworths and just recently BHS. We will all have fond memories no matter what age we may be, of these and so many other famous and favourite names being lost. This is not the place to try and understand the many and varied reasons why these once much loved brands are now part of history. Which High Street chain or brand will be next to go, who knows? Only one thing is certain as the year 2017 rolls by there will be casualties. Sad, why yes of course, as real people who have real lives are affected by the loss of possibly thousands of jobs. We as the consumer have to seek out alternatives, never an easy task, but at least for the time being there is still plenty to choose from. It is fair to say that the High Street as we once knew it is destined to be a thing of the past. I am sure you must be thinking, what has this all to do with Christmas and with my relationship with Almighty God. Let me tell you it has everything to do with us and our relation to God. Unlike the High Street, God is a God who never changes, “I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6) and as we look back over many centuries we can see the truth of those words. His Son, His only begotten Son born at this time of the year, said this “I am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow”. (Hebrew 13:8). God’s word never changes, and is eternal, everlasting, WILL NOT DISAPPEAR. Jesus speaking to His disciples said this “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”. (Matthew 24:35). This then surely must be the source of our confidence, for we trust in a living unchangeable God. We worship a risen, victorious, exalted Saviour and we have the word of God to teach us and train us, etc. The apostle Paul writing to his young friend Timothy had this to say, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). So when the Christ child born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, says something, makes a promise, we can be confident that He is not going to disappear like some High Street brand. No The Lord Jesus Christ is here for keeps, forever in fact. He called those early disciples to follow Him, follow Him they did, leaving everything behind. They risked in the eyes of many so much, yet it was no risk at all. For when we follow this child born in less than ideal circumstances, trusting completely in Him then we can be absolutely sure and certain that He will always be with us, just as He promised. Listen as the Lord Jesus Christ speaks words of truth; “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 11:13) That’s the miracle of Christmas, not shopping, not the food, not the parties, not even the gifts we give one another. No, Christmas is about God reaching out to us all. It is quite simple really, God on the one hand saying I am Holy and Righteous, mankind on the other hand so sinful and unrighteous. How can the two come together, the answer is so very easy, Christ Jesus and Him crucified. This great truth missed by so many, it will not disappear, and it is there for us today as we read this article. Now is the day, now is the time. Let us follow the example of those first visitors to the cradle, the shepherds, they fell down and worshipped Him. Whilst Herod had hatred and jealousy in his heart, those simple uneducated shepherds had nothing but love in their hearts. Today as we draw ever closer to Christmas, let our hearts be filled with love for the Saviour of the world. Let us worship Him as Lord of Lords and King of Kings for He is worthy to receive our praise. Do we love Him? If the answer is no, then love Him now; proclaim Him as Saviour and Lord. If we know and Love Him, Worship Him, let’s not forget the reason for Christmas, to celebrate and give thanks to God for His birth, His life and His death. BUT remember He is alive, Alleluia. Maybe the demise of the High Street has levelled out, we certainly hope so, but one other long running institution is coming to an end, what is it you may ask. Sadly this will be the final Lighthouse Magazine. After something like 18 years of producing the Lighthouse Ray and Sharon feel it is now time for them to step down as Editors. I want to express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to them both for the professional way in which the magazine has been produced. It has been the source of so much blessing to so many people over many many years. Thank you Ray and Sharon from us all. We also take this opportunity to thank the others who have produced the magazine previously for us. Yes we shall miss the Lighthouse Magazine; we miss many of those High Street names that were once so familiar. But let us take heart that the Lord God never changes, never will He leave us, never will He stop loving us and all because of Jesus. Christmas remember is all about the Son of God, The Lord Jesus Christ.
May we all know and enjoy God’s richest blessings throughout the Christmas period and into the New Year 2017. You shall call His name Immanuel, which means God with us. (Matthew 1:23)
With Christian love Eric Blowes