Pause for Thought with Ray Dadswell: Before and after

Further reflections on celebrations of years gone by and what the Christmas festival means now, according to Iain Masson.

“I was a child in Edinburgh when Christmas meant more food, sweets and presents. At the end of the bed a sock contained an apple, an orange and a Mars bar.

“We always had a white Christmas, with frost on the inside of the windows. However, my sister and I got up early into a cold house.

“Later, I spent Christmasses on my own, also in a place where I didn’t want to be. There were times when I had no home, sheltering anywhere. More often than not I was drunk. I thought I was free. What a joke!

“Later still, when I had children, I got to know Santa personally. There was great pleasure seeing my children open their gifts. During this time I became teetotal. One of the best things I ever did.

“Even later still, a wonderful change. God called me into his family. This I didn’t expect. But by God’s grace, a child again. A child of God. This is true freedom. I have a great supportive wife, great children and grandchildren. I also have a Christian family around me. But above all, it is the close loving relationship I have with Jesus which is beyond price.

“Now when I wake up on Christmas Day I think on the greatest gift I have ever received. Jesus Christ and the new life he has given me.”

And here’s the Bible verse to ponder: “To all who received him (Jesus), God gave the right to become children of God” (John 1, 12).

P.S. As is a normal practice in this column, we are offering a little booklet called ‘Living’, free of charge, to anyone who would like a copy. Write to Pause for Thought, 11 Lismore Road, Eastbourne BN21 3BA.