Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Then wake every two hours for feeds
Once in royal David's city,
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby,
Her traumatised husband to her said:
I'm off to the pub for a pint of mild,
To wet the head of this little Child.
Amended words copyright thechurchmouse with thanks.
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head,
And then Social Services saw where he lay,
And they claimed child neglect and they took him away.
Who was Mary?
Mary was Jesus’s mother. She was a young woman who said yes to God, she had faith in God, she nurtured Jesus and remembered the words of the shepherds, she greeted the kings or wise men, she recalled the conversation with Jesus at the wedding in Cana of Galilee.
Mary followed Jesus through the three years of his public ministry, his preaching and teaching. She followed Jesus to the foot of the cross on which he died. Mary kept all these things in her mind (or heart) and recounted them to the writers of the Gospels.
We too should say yes to God, yes to faith in God, yes to being obedient to God and his will, yes to a lively faith which allows God’s Holy Spirit into our lives to change us and our lives for the better.
Mary the virgin, Mary the mother, Mary honoured by Christians the world over as the one who carried Jesus in her womb, Mary whose son was free from the taint of original sin, Mary who was humble and meek, Mary was used by God to change the world.
Have you ever gone Christmas shopping only to find that you can’t park your car?
Out of town shopping centres are places where everything is all under one roof. You won’t get wet or cold, but so many other people will be there it might take a while to get into the car park, let alone find a space. Christmas shopping can be a joy or a trial. But how do you pay for things? On credit? Or with cash? Hear the cash registers sing when you pay for your purchases and proudly carry them home. Santa’s grotto, and often animated reindeer are there, Christmas is a time when people party so much, comfort-eat and drink to be ‘merry’.
Retail therapy has a good excuse - presents for yourself or for others. We can eat and drink, but if we are lonely, and feel alone, isolated and vulnerable, no amount of food and drink can satisfy the inner emptiness. It might be fun while it lasts, but the next day we have to begin again. Is that why people party so much at Christmas, but believe so little?
Jesus called himself the light of the world. Only when the light of Jesus Christ shines into the darkness of people’s lives will the comfort eating, retail therapy, and binge drinking become redundant.
Christmas is when God comes down to earth at Bethlehem. God becomes vulnerable, so that he could understand what it was to be vulnerable. He taught his people the true meaning of love. We party so much, not because we believe so little, but because deep down we believe so much, we just find it hard to put into words.
Every time a hand reaches out to help another - that is Christmas.
Every time someone puts anger aside and strives for understanding - that is Christmas.
Every time people forget their differences and realize their love for each other - that is Christmas.
May this Christmas bring us closer to the spirit of human understanding. Closer to the blessing of peace!