I recently read these words ‘…and now the torch and poppy red, we wear in honour of our dead…’. These are the words, spoken in 1918, by American teacher Moina Michael after she had been moved by Col. John McRae’s wartime poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’. She wanted to provide welfare for World War 1 veterans and she wanted to find a way for society to remember those who had given their life. And so, the act of wearing a poppy was born. Very quickly the symbol caught the imagination of the public and today, nearly 100 years later, we still wear poppies as an act of remembrance; simple yet poignant.

Yet, we seem to find it very easy to forget things regardless of their importance. On my wedding day, an older, ‘wiser’ uncle advised me that the only way to remember my anniversary in future years was to forget it just once! We have devised a number of ways and strategies for helping us with our struggling memories. Some like to keep it old school and tie a knot in their handkerchief, some write notes and important dates in their diaries while others set reminders on their phones and tablets. Yet we never seem to quite remember everything.

God is all too aware of this character flaw – he did after all create us. The Bible is full of verses where God tells His people to remember what He has done for them in the past and is doing in the present. After the Israelites had been freed from Egypt for example, God gave them strict instructions on how to celebrate the event in order that they would remember their freedom from slavery. Surely this wouldn’t be something you would easily forget… but the Israelites found a way!

Likewise, before Christ was crucified, He gave His disciples a simple yet poignant symbol to help them understand and not forget the real meaning of the cross.

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-25 (ESV)

The ‘Breaking of Bread’, is not a reminder to us that Christ died on the cross, but rather that He overcame death on it and therefore we can be reconciled with God and our sins can be forgiven. It is a reminder that we do not face life’s trials and tribulations alone. It is a reminder that in all of life’s busyness and distractions that God should be at the centre of our heart’s desires. It is a reminder of God’s love and God’s provision and many more blessings.

As we head now into winter our thoughts will soon turn to Christmas and yes, before you realise it, we may find ourselves forgetting what the real meaning of Christmas is. The pressure to provide the perfect meal, buy the right present and entertain family and friends will soon take over. So let’s be mindful of the above verses and remember God’s Gift this year.

To help remind us, our family, our friends and visitors to church of the real meaning of Christmas, we’ve produced a special edition of Luke’s Gospel. Click here to find out more about the Christmas Gospel.

 

Ross McFarlane
Director of Finance and Administration