I had a very special present for Christmas this year.
It was a set of three nesting tables and each table has two Ordnance Survey maps on the top showing parts of the country which have been special to me in my life.
I like it, partly because of the time and thought that the people put into choosing and preparing the gift, but also because these places have very special memories for me.
We all have these special places – maybe something significant happened there or they represent the happy and settled times in our lives.
Many of us like to visit churches and cathedrals when we are on holiday and, whether they are believers or not, most people acknowledge that there is something sacred about these buildings – an atmosphere of peace and wonder. It could be to do with the architecture or perhaps it is the prayers and worship offered to God in that place over centuries.
Maybe some of our favourite places are special because that is where we feel close to someone important to us.
The pyramids of Egypt are famous because they contain the mummified bodies of ancient Egyptian kings.
Westminster Abbey is noted because within its walls are the remains of many noble and notable people.
Muhammad’s tomb is visited because of the stone coffin and the bones that are there.
Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC is revered because it is the resting place for many outstanding Americans.
But the Garden Tomb of Jesus is famous because it is empty!
Those ‘special places’ are precious but we eventually have to leave them behind and go home. But the good news is that Jesus is always with us wherever we are – not just in church. That tomb is empty because God brought Jesus back to life He overcame death and has promised to be with us always. We can talk to him and know his presence from waking in the morning to going to sleep. When we wake in the middle of the night and the ‘what ifs’ start to come into our minds we can share them with Jesus and ask for his peace.
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