Christmas sets me thinking.

We are often overwhelmed by emotions surrounding events, religious and non-religious. We can be partly blinded by them; particularly by the sweet tinsel of Christmas – just how silent is a night while a baby is born in a stable cavern? How still is a small town when it is overcrowded and every room and caravanserai full for a census? What would it have been like?

New Little Town Of Bethlehem

Oh, little town of Bethlehem
so full of noise and dust,
outside the inn they’re crowding in,
is there still room for us?
For in those dark streets shining,
is everlasting Light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are meeting there tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary
and gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wondering love.
The morning stars together
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the King
and Peace to men on earth.

In waters and the blood of birth
the wondrous gift is given!
and God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of His heaven.
In tears of pain and tears of joy
and cries of birth is given,
the gift of God to humankind,
the promise of his heaven.

No ear may hear his coming,
through all this wide world’s din,
but where meek souls receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.
Oh, holy child of Bethlehem
come live in us, we pray.
Cast out our sin and enter in,
be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell.
Oh, come to us, and live with us
our Lord Emmanuel!

How we Love Children

How we Love Children

How we love children…
continue to love naughty children…
… love them more… weep over alienation from them…
… scold, but still love…
remember, with sadness not blame, tantrums and bad behaviour…
… forget much or most, or remember with amusement,
for childish disobedience is part of growing.
We devote ourselves to them… weep with them…
… teach them to pick themselves up…
… stand back when they are making their own way…
… give them space to grow…
… admire their attempts even when they fail…
… see their hurt when they let you down…
… give them credit, love them even more,
when they try to be good but fail…
… and know this is just their childhood.
All their adult life will grow from this.

If love seems to fail… parent turning from child…
child from parent… the failure is in both.
Parents are also children, babes in eternity,
we have our failings and our fallings too,
and a good Parent who loves us
even more than we love our own children,
who weeps over us, with us,
gives everything, even life itself,
for us.

When we move on from this life we will not be turned away because of our childhood failings, because a good parent does not cease to be a parent when we grow up. However we tried and failed, the great Parent of us all will never fail.

All shall be well, and all shall be well,
And all manner of thing shall be well.
–                      Dame Julian of Norwich.

(Language changes, meanings change. When Dame Julian wrote these words ‘all manner of thing’ meant every possible thing. Now it has been weakened, ‘all manner of things’ is used to mean ‘lots of things’. Dame Julian’s meaning was total)