Today I have done absolutley nothing, well I have managed to get out of bed, done some reading, drunk lots of tea, watched some films and done a bit of reading. I have actually enjoyed the day, and as I sit writing this I am surrounded by Christmas lights and cards, lovely new photos of my grandaughter and her brothers, and reminders that over the last 10 days I have welcomed 10 members of my family along with their partners and children. I am relaxing now, reminded that it is still Christmas, and my tree will remain up until twelth night, and my nativity sets until Candlemas ( 2nd February) when we celebrate the presentation of the Christ-child at the temple, pondering Simeons amazing words ” my eyes have seen your salvation”.
“My eyes have seen your salvation”, those words are echoing in my heart and mind as I write this post, and I pause to ponder the glimpses of grace-filled love that I have encountered this Christmas -time. It began with two fantastic Carol Services with “scratch nativities” where I asked people to consider who they identified with in the Christmas story, the reasons were moving and profound and we welcomed some unlikely angels and a whole hoard of wise women.
The Carol Service at the Comfort Zone our drop in for vulnerable and homeless people in Blackpool was also very moving, so many people from all walks of life came with gifts of love and time, and many were moved to offer other help throughout the year. Our Local MP Paul Maynard came to wait on tables and has subsequently done much more for one lady who came with a friends encouragement. Is this a coincidence, I suspect not; and my eyes saw “His salvation, and my heart heard hope”
Other glimpses of grace came through Trudy a homless woman whose tears were real and humble as she recieved bread and wine on Christmas Eve and conducted the singing of “O Come all Ye Faithful” with gusto before leaving with a bag of specially prepared sandwiches and other treats that were prepared by one of our wonderful Stewards: and my eyes saw “His salvation, and my heart heard hope”
Christmas Day brought a wonderful service at New Central in Blackpool, much fun and celebration with a reflection on the depth of love that brings such celebration to us. This was followed by my choice to serve Christmas Lunch at one of our Circuit Projects, I last did this with my now ex-husband and was unsure how I would find it, but it was a healing time. I encouraged folk to pull crackers and tell jokes, I prayed with a man who wanted a blessing for missing Mid-night Mass, and with another lady for healing, and through it a part of my heart began to heal, that is grace, incarnate grace, and despite recent darkness”my eyes saw His salvation, and my heart heard hope.”
Since then I have welcomed family and friends as I said, and from round the table sharing to evening conversations, from splashing in the sea to hearing my grandaughtes voice calling “come on Grandma” my eyes have seen His salvation, and my heart has heard hope.
It is Christmas, still Christmas because through it we welcome the one who makes God’s presence real and tangiable among us, God with us Immanuel, so unlike C.S. Lewis’s Narnia where it was once always winter but never Christmas, perhaps we can truly celebrate Christmas everyday even without the turkey ( which has not featured here this year) and trimmings for surely God IS with us always….
The key is to see when and where, and then to join in…