Christmas a time for thanks and reflection

It's busy and bustling but Christmas is a time to reflect and a time to open our hearts to others, writes Pastor Julie Virtue from Havannah House.

It's busy and bustling but Christmas is a time to reflect and a time to open our hearts to others, writes Pastor Julie Virtue from Havannah House.

More than hands can hold has been named The Best New Christmas song for 2021 in USA.

The words of this song speak about the memories of past years. We all have memories - some are pleasant - some not so pleasant.

One of the great things about our memories and life experiences is that they can mold our character and make us stronger and wiser for the journey ahead if we allow them to.

This song also speaks about opening our hearts and giving to others.

This can be done in so many ways - a letter, a card, a phone call or a text message, a meal or cake delivered, or just sharing time with a visit.

It doesn't have to cost money - just a loving heart behind what we do.

This Christmas in our community many farmers are having a hard time.

Let's remember them in our prayers. Perhaps a text message or a phone call to a farming family known to us would be timely.

Many in our community have lost loved ones this year or have been separated from families because of COVID - can we reach out in some way and touch hearts?

For a variety of reasons there are homeless people in our region and in our nation. We may not know them but can support those who reach out to them.

As Australians who live in the amazingly beautiful and safe community of Forbes: let's be thankful for the blessings we have.

We have a government and shire council who work hard to protect and provide for us in a peaceful nation.

We have services keeping us safe - only a call away when needed - SES, Police, Fire Services, Ambulance, Medical Services - all working hard for our care and protection.

We have services of assistance such as Binaal Billa, Yoorana Gunya, Catholic Care, Vinnies, The Salvation Army, Havannah House, Womens Refuge and Service NSW. For two years have received Dine and Discover Vouchers from our government - another blessing.

We have a bus run to assist those without transport in the community.

We are surrounded by businesses and citizens who continue each year to give to local charities and organisations of assistance who need funds to support the needy in town.

We have been challenged by Covid these last two years as individuals, as a community and as a nation.

These years have shaped us to do things we never imagined we would have to do - lockdowns, social distancing, wearing masks, signing into venues, separation from loved ones were just some of the challenges.

Throughout these challenges we have been kept as safe as possible by others who reached out to protect us and to advise us.

This Christmas once again there will be people who will deliver meals to those in need. Many of these people do this all year round and do so with open and loving hearts - sharing love with another and in doing so will find a blessing in return that comes from giving.

The Bible tells us that a generous person will prosper: Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

Jesus said "Give and it will be given to you, good measure pressed down, shaken together and running over will be provided into your lap" Luke 6:38A.

2000 years ago, a baby boy was born as the supreme gift for all people for all generations. His name is Jesus who died on a cross in our place to save us from our sins because we couldn't save ourselves.

Through His death Jesus gave us an amazing gift of hope and a future in relationship with Him. This is all ours for the accepting.

Please keep safe this Christmas and remember that Jesus loves you. He has no favourites, and He did not come to condemn but to save us - What a Gift!

Pastor Julie Virtue Havannah House