I had the great thrill on Tuesday evening of watching Crystal Palace play Southampton at St. Mary’s stadium, Southampton. This was my Christmas present from David – we had great seats high up behind one of the goals, but were totally surrounded by thousands of Southampton supporters! You may be aware that Crystal Palace gloriously came from a goal down to triumph 2-1! Three brief thoughts:
- It is an odd – and potentially dangerous – experience to be jumping up from one’s seat, shouting and with arms raised, each time when Palace scored, in the midst of silent, glum, even distraught multitudes. I very quickly reflected on our calling as Christians to be people filled with joy, rejoicing in Christ’s victory over sin, death and the devil whilst surrounded by many who would want us to keep silent.
- When Palace scored their second goal there were still 10 minutes of the match remaining and then, horror of horrors, 3 minutes of added time. Would they, could they hold on for what seemed like forever? How wonderful to know that Christ’s victory is totally secure – that we can look forward to all of 2018 and beyond with confidence in His presence, power, protection and the eternal prospect ahead of us.
- Walking the mile or so back to the car after the game we got soaked by heavy rain – and yet it was hardly noticeable because of the match result. May the joy of the Lord be our strength (Nehemiah 8v10) throughout this New Year.
The spiritual reality in comparison with my pathetic illustration is particularly spelt out by Peter in 1 Peter 1v3-9. Do read, reflect on and rejoice in such words.
Peace and Grace – and a very Happy New Year