A singer writes a killer song and wherever he goes the crowd scream “Play…” The singer gets to enjoy the knowledge that they’ve done something good, over and over. But a painter paints a picture and that’s it. No one saw Van Gogh on the street or in his studio and said, “Hey, paint a Starry Night again”. I guess that’s the same when we write. It’s written, posted, received, read and put in a drawer.
So I’m taking a liberty and reposting last years Christmas letter because I like it, and after all, it’s all about me! I heard the crowds shouting, “post ‘A Christmas Letter’” and I’ve obliged😎. Here it is, the encore.
I got all seasonal and thought I would write you a Christmas letter. Bit like a Christmas card but low on pictorial content and a lot more words. All in all, much better value I’m thinking.
Some years ago I spoke in a church at Christmas. I spoke regularly then. Anyway, I always looked forward to the challenge of Christmas as there is only limited and exceedingly well known material to use. You know me. I want original and I’ll walk the long way around to find it. Leave the audience with “I didn’t see that coming” on their lips as you vanish. Who was that masked preacher? 🥷🏻
So I searched for original.
I found what I was looking for in a part of the Christmas narrative that rarely gets more than a passing mention. The account of King Herod and his reaction to the news that a new king, a “King of the Jews” had been born. As you will remember, fearful for his position and his throne he conspired to have the baby killed. When the intel turned out to be less than desirable, an age old issue, Herod resolved to take a ‘scorched earth’ approach, an age old solution, and kill all the male children in Bethlehem where he believed Jesus to be. The stomp of troops, the flash of swords, the screaming of young mothers, blood and…well that bit gets scant mention at Christmas for obvious reasons. But it’s there and I thought I’d give it a go.
The innocent once again paid the price. Things may have changed. Our technology may have come a long way but, a drone strike instead of a spear, a suicide bomber in place of a sword? The innocent still bear the cost.
So I retold the account and then spoke, that in the midst of this, of hope come into the world. Goodness, isn’t that a message so many need to hear after the year just gone? Hope, because despite what happened in Bethlehem that is the fundamental message of the Christian Christmas, right? That hope was personified, took on human form, and came to live amongst us in a real tangible form because, well, we forget that there is always hope. We needed something physical, a line in the sand, something that cannot be looked past to remind us and give us a point of focus. You see, there is always hope or perhaps to be more accurate I should write Hope, because that’s what Christmas tells us in a way that we can cope with, we can understand.
It’s not that Hope hasn’t always been with us, dwelt in our midst as a verse from A Course In Miracles I’ve already used this year says:
If you knew Who walks beside you on the way that you have chosen, fear would be impossible18:3.3.2
It’s that we, you and I, have become less and less able to recognise and realise the fact. Isn’t that the fundamental message of so many belief systems, not just the Christians with their Christmas story? Muslims, Hindus, Baha’i, Buddhists, you name one and the central theme will be Hope. That the Divine, Source, God dwells amongst us. Always has, but we have managed to forget.
I read this year that man’s redemption will actually be man’s remembering, remembering who he and she are and where they are from. In forgetting we have allowed Hope to become hope, with a small ‘h’. We’ve allowed it to become merely a possibility, a wished for thing, something that may, possibly, be fulfilled. It’s no longer that tangible thing and so the Christian’s have Christmas. They need Christmas. Others have something else. A tangible restatement, a focal point, the every present reminder that can’t be struck out. Herod tried, and we need to read that part of the story. He failed. Even with all our technology we haven’t succeeded. But, unable to erase Hope we have chosen to diminish it to hope, and then forget.
I’m not an optimist but a great believer in hope.Nelson Mandela
So at Christmas the Divine invaded our world in the most blatant of ways. It became personified. You’d say “God took on flesh” and tell me it was “a light for all mankind” and it was, to cause us to remember and in doing so, to renew Hope.
The things that we have applied hope to in this life may never come to be, but this life is but a flicker in the presence of eternity. And, as said, we have forgotten, become misfocused. This Christmas, every Christmas, is a symbol held up to remind us. The Divine invaded time and choose to stand amongst us, eternity within time. A beacon of Hope. I and many others suffer now for a moment in the flow of eternity, but Hope reminds me of the wonders that are to come forever. Hope tells me my destiny will be most wonderfully fulfilled.
May love be what you remember mostDarcie Sims
Yours, pausing to wrap Christmas gifts,