The Salvation Army - Salvationist.ca - General Linda Bond

God With Us

In her December 2012 installment of Sharing the Vision, General Linda Bond reminds us that Christmas comes when our hearts are open to receive the One who has come to dwell in us.

December 21, 2012 by General Linda Bond


On December 19, I had the privilege of preaching at a very special carol service in Westminster Abbey. The 2,000-strong congregation included civil servants, ambassadors, cabinet ministers and other politicians. The choir was magnificent; trumpeters from the Grenadier guards and the rich organ music made you feel like you were at a coronation event. The pageantry was something to behold with the processions and clergy in their ornate vestments. The readings and carols powerfully told the Christmas story. And the cathedral itself? Awesome! Obviously its architect really believed in giving his “utmost for the highest.” The whole scene, the whole event was unforgettable.

Since then I have been thinking of the little New Aberdeen corps in Canada where I grew up. It was a far, far cry from Westminster Abbey. Visually, there is no comparison. Our songsters could never compete with the cathedral singers; our pageantry was the nativity play with housecoats and towels as headdresses. The vestments were Army uniforms, the music by our little band. Yet in that two-room, dilapidated building, I truly experienced Christmas. Ever since, the coming of Jesus has been an occasion to celebrate.

Since writing to you in October, it seems as though I have been around the world. I visited Florida, in the USA Southern Territory, then Toronto and St John’s, Newfoundland. In a separate trip I went to Haiti, Jamaica (the Caribbean) and Papua New Guinea. Finally the year was rounded off with a commissioning weekend in the Southern Africa Territory. (If you haven’t read about these trips in more detail, please check out our International News Releases on the Army’s website or in your territorial news bulletins). The occasions differed, the venues were certainly diverse and the style of worship varied. Such contrasts! Yet, the reality of God’s presence could never be underestimated. Jesus explained it simply when the woman at the well envisioned worship as connected with tradition, building or geography. No, “God is Spirit and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth,” our Lord explained (John 4:24).

Often we think we capture life by what we see but sometimes physical sight limits real vision. This Christmas you may not be sharing in the drama of the Christmas story in a cathedral. But you can meet with Immanuel, God with us. That significant encounter may take place at your corps, in your home, by yourself or with others. You may live in Africa, America, Asia, Europe or the South Pacific. But it does not depend on the place, not even the atmosphere. Christmas comes again and again when your heart is open to receive the gracious invitation of the One who has come to dwell in you.

May his presence today light up your home and your heart. God bless you richly.

Sincerely,

Linda Bond
General

Click here to read other installments of Sharing the Vision.

Speak Your Mind

*

Grace Notes

Grace Notes

National Music Camp staff and students share why it’s the best week of the year.

Bread of Life

Bread of Life

A learning and fellowship program helps single mothers better provide for their families.

Opinion & Critical Thought

Give It a (Sabbath) Rest

Give It a (Sabbath) Rest

Our lives are incredibly busy, but we ignore the fourth commandment at our peril.

The Power to Prevail

The Power to Prevail

How the Holy Spirit helps us conquer sin and do good.

Territorial News

Territorial Survey Reveals Most Valued Areas of Ministry

Results to help Army strengthen connection between behaviours and values.

Salvation Army Joins Faith Leaders in Condemning Persecution in Mosul, Iraq

Leaders stand with those committed to ensuring respect for the human rights of all.

International News

Salvation Army Responds After Earthquake in California, USA

Salvation Army Responds After Earthquake in California, USA

Emergency mobile feeding units sent to worst-affected areas in Napa and Vallejo.

Salvation Army Supports Ferguson Community after Fatal Shooting

The Salvation Army offers practical and spiritual support for the community of Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of a young man by a police officer.

Faith & Friends

Angels in Blue

Angels in Blue

For this Canadian traveller stranded at Heathrow Airport, two Salvation Army pastors were a godsend

The Salvation Army’s Transitional House in Ottawa: Committed to Change

The Salvation Army’s Transitional House in Ottawa: Committed to Change

For Shawn, an Army addictions program was there when he needed it the most.