As I write, the nation has just stood in the silence of Remembrance. In the quiet and solitude of our thoughts we recalled what had been. But now, in noise and activity, we impatiently await the next big landmark of Christmas. We remember too though previous 25ths of December, many happy, some not so happy perhaps but, nonetheless, here it comes again and the excitement builds. Everything is rushing towards that day again. There is a continuous flow of imperative news of what and where to buy this and that. We are told what we need to purchase and what would be such a treat: retail on the move, pulling the tinsel over our eyes — and all for what?
To remember the birth of a child 220 decades ago, born in the quiet and magnificence of a humble stable after the frantic searching for shelter.* It’s all for a birthday celebration. The four weeks until the 25th is a stretch of time we call Advent which means ‘a time for awaiting the arrival of a noble person or thing’. As a child, my fondest Christmas desire was for a red handled kettle for my dolls; but the real wait is for that noble, kingly servant, Jesus. And as we wait we prepare for the arrival of the gifts and also to receive the message that Jesus brought with him – that we are loved unconditionally. But the preparations are exciting and none more so than decorating the tree – when that happens the festivities have begun! I do hope you have fashioned a tree to display at the Christmas Tree Festival in St Peter’s this month, or at least plan to come and have a look. With the glitter and the lights it provides a wonderful and holy place. This is a great opportunity to get creative and find that God-given hidden talent.
But then comes January, the month of resolutions to change or do all sorts; the month of clearing away to make space for the new that was so anticipated in December. The feast of Epiphany on the 6th January remembers the time when Jesus was revealed to the world as God on earth, the time when everything changed and was, yes, new. We might paint a wall to freshen it up but we have the opportunity every day to make a fresh beginning; and all because of that baby who was serenaded with the lowing of cattle.
Wishing for you happiness at Christmas and joy in 2020.
Ruth Bond LLM
*Luke ch 2, vs 1 -20.