There will be something like a hundred thousand Australians not at home with their families for Christmas lunch, they will be working in the hospitality industry - the service clubs, major hotels, and the resorts to name just three.
There will be another huge army of Australians (mostly from the churches) who will likewise not be celebrating Christmas with their family, rather they will be donating this special time of the year as a sacrifice unto the Lord, and giving their time to prepare and serve lunches to those a whole less fortunate.
These Australians who are often lonely or down on their luck, families without the wherewithall to provide such a Christmas lunch, will be offered a special Christmas treat, a hot baked delicious Christmas meal.
But for most of us, as best as we're able, we will be with family members for Christmas day lunch or dinner – many families will visit one set of grand-parents for lunch and the other set for dinner (if in the same city or region) – this can be extended into Boxing day as there can a myriad of such grand-parents with so many relationships into their second and third marriages.
It can also be a very dangerous time for those loosely classified as 'grieving fathers' where these men will have no access to their biological children this Christmas. Life is very often found to be unfair. The procedures involved in such processes, although all perfectly legal, have been found to be wanting upon closer inspection. My article last May on the Griffith University Innocence Program certainly touched as nerve. How many men are there unjustly in prison this Christmas. (au.christiantoday.com)
All this led me to consider Solomon's prayer at the Dedication to the Temple as recorded in 2 Chronicles 6. His prayer has certainly got applications at Christmas as described above, where we cannot cater for everyone everytime, rather we can only do our best as able and this depends on a host of issues and circumstances often out of our control.
But it also has applications in many different situations, nothing to do with Christmas, rather our hearts desires, but where external factors have simply not permitted our best endeavours. This often applies to Christmas service where we're at a very different place to the one that was in reality, our true heart's intention.
Solomon as recorded in verses 7-9 spells this out. It is a very revealing portion of Scripture as it records history, presents us with a theological lesson and provides a marvellous level of comfort to which many have yearned.
Before all the people, young and old, Solomon is in the process of dedicating this remarkable piece of architecture that took so long to build and with riches beyond imagination, and the best quality importations such as the cedars of Lebanon. No expense was spared.
Solomon in verse 7 says that it was upon his father David's heart to build this temple, this temple of the Lord. Such was a magnificence of the plans and the joy of the people of Israel with the idea of a temple, that David's heart was such that his depths of passion was to have been the one to have constructed this wonder for worship of the God of the universe.
In verse 9 we see that the Lord had said that he would not be the one who would build this temple, rather it would be his son, and he "shall build the temple for My name" (this was Solomon).
The critical factor
The verse for us is the middle text, verse 8. "But the Lord said to my father David, 'Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well in that it was in your heart.'"
This verse and its implications has been for thousands upon thousands of the followers of the Lord over centuries and centuries the 'verse of blessing' - for like David, many have desired in their heart to be engaged in full time missionary or Christian service but those doors were closed to them. But because it was upon their heart, the Lord's blessing was richly endowed.
And similarly this Christmas. Many will have sought in their heart but for want of a thousand legitimate and impossible / unrealistic logistical reasons, could not. But because it was in your heart to bring a blessing to loved ones, that in itself will bring a blessing and a special comfort from the Lord.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at