You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
The word I have been given this week is joy. Yes, I know I am a week late since Guadete Sunday is the third Sunday in Advent when we sing “Rejoice the Lord is nigh!” But we have just celebrated the fourth Sunday. My only excuse is that Jennifer and I have been struck down by a particularly nasty flu like virus which has confined us both to bed for much of the week and left us completely washed out. Writing about anything has been impossible.
Yet that setback reminds me that in all the rush, the buying of food and drink, the presents; the general joyful anticipation of celebrating Christmas with our loved ones, there are some less fortunate than our selves. Some for whom Christmas is to be endured like every other day, tramping the cold wet pavements seeking shelter or a bite to eat where they can. And perhaps in our own streets there are some who have not spoken a word to anyone for days or weeks; whose only companion is the flickering image on the TV set. Loneliness can be a terrible thing.
We may feel we have come a long way since that night 2000 years ago when a babe was born in wretched circumstances to a Virgin. Yet have we really? There is still oppression, war, hatred in the world just as there was then, people still live on the streets, are homeless or are refugees just as Mary and Joseph had to flee their native land. Real joy then still seems to be missing in our world today. Yet in the darkness a small bright light shines. Jesus Christ is that light which will illuminate the darkness of our chaotic world. Only God can forgive. Only God can say to the down trodden, to the fainthearted “Take courage”.
Christ then is the true source of our joy – not mere tinsel gifts.
As we celebrate with family and friends let us spare a thought, no, more than that let us do something positive for those less fortunate than ourselves this Christmastide.
Peace and blessings to you all.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years