There’s a story of a shoe salesman who was sent by his company to a country in Africa to test the market there. After being there for two weeks, he sent word back to America, “Please bring me home. Nobody wears shoes over here”. The company brought him home and flew another salesman there. In a couple of weeks, the second salesman sent word back with the following message, “Please send me all the shoes you can because nobody here has shoes”.

Quite amazing, isn’t it? Two men faced the same situation but their attitude and perspective could not be any more contrasting. For those of us who are celebrating Christmas for the umpteenth time, we could approach it and go, “Not again”. Or we could say, “Lord, don’t let my heart ever get numb and unmoved by the good news of great joy the angel delivered to the shepherds that a Saviour, Christ the Lord has been born to you”.

Do you want Christmas to be different this year? Perhaps change your attitude and perspective. I commend this prayer by a Renee Swope, to you to start the journey:

This Advent, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.
Fill me with Your presence from the very start.
As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given,
Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven.
The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever.
You came as a baby born in a manger.
Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree,
Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.

Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus’ birth,
When He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.
Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night.
And angels announced, “Into your darkness, God brings His Light.”
“Do not be afraid,” they said, to shepherds in the field.
Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.
Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call.
Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all.
Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice.

Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise.
Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush.
In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush.
This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.
Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.
Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day.
Keep me close to You, Lord. It’s in Your wonderful Name I pray.

Mark