Another week has gone past and somehow it is the end of term. The end of a long long darkness filled term. As I sit on the edge of these times called ‘holidays’ I think I’ve managed to train my body and mind well enough over the last few weeks into realising that these are not holiday weeks. These two weeks ahead of us are out of routine weeks. They are not to be feared but they will not be perfect holiday times. Let’s face it, I need to wait for the new creation for the final end of term and the true holiday to begin.
It was a week of slog to get here. Angry lady sadly returned all too much. Husbandface had a grim hideous week with days off work and the black dog seemed to tighten its grip. Tiredness seemed to win all round. Running provided my solace and sanity as I escaped the house into a land of darkness punctured by pretty fairy lights.
It’s been a hard week. But it’s been a hard week for others too. There are too many stories of pain and suffering and heartache just in my friends lives, let alone trying to process images from a war torn Aleppo, let alone the vast amount of pain unknown people across the world are facing each day.
It is too much.
Christmas bling in the world has nothing to say in the face of such hurt. Christmas is no respecter of suffering. Christmas carries on expecting us to be jolly and full of festive fun, whatever the heck that means anyway.
Thankfully there is a deeper story. A deeper, quieter, ordinary yet changing everything story at the heart of this time of year. Into the deep darkness (which is why I love living in the northern hemisphere in December, pathetic fallacy is such a helpful device) a light came. Into the land living in the shadow of darkness and death came a baby. No ordinary baby. This baby would be the Saviour of the world, the promised one. The consolation of Israel and the piercer of souls. This baby would change history.
And he arrives with fanfare to some shepherds. He arrives for the outcast and stranger. He arrives for the ones not in the circle. He arrives to turn everything on its head. He arrives and then nothing for many years. Just a refugee having to flee for fear of death. Just a baby in the arms of a young woman and husband we know all too little about.
Yet the word become flesh. Yet the Maker of all, who made the starry skies, now lying in a manger. Yet the Father made known to us. Full of Grace and Truth. Yet the hope of the world. The way, truth and life. The feeler of our pain and sadness. The sharer of our joy and wonder. Emmanuel. God with us.
Once more this is my only hope in these next two weeks. God is with us. In the pain. In the sorrow. In the darkness. In the scary times. In the weakness. In the crap of this world. God is with us. There is a reason for joy and wonder and it’s not the generic spirit of Christmas. It’s the quiet, weird ordinary ways in which the Maker of the world stepped into the world to share with his creatures, to enable freedom to come, and to become victorious over all the pain and causing of pain in this world.
I hope and long for our weary days to be punctured with more than fairy lights but with the light of the world leading us on. Forgiving us. Enabling us to relate well to each other and enjoying the real joy that cannot be quenched this Christmas time.
Come Lord Jesus. Come.