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Christmas Nights

Bright Christmas Tree designAs a child the most magical of times were the nights before Christmas. The Christmas tree with its multicoloured lights, I imagined had a thousand places within its boughs where tiny arboreal people lived, the wall decorations cast sparkling reflections from the open fire and bedtime was less of a chore as each sleep got me closer to ‘the night’. Christmas Eve itself was succession of wakenings so that I could reach down to the bottom of my bed to feel the long woolly sock. This was of course in expectation that Santa had been to fill it. Time and time again the garment was disappointingly empty. Then… then as if by magic, it felt fat and heavy and above all crinkly with the small presents inside. Sleep was gone for ever as the woollen sausage was hauled up and item after item retrieved from its innards. Sweets, toy cars and once a flute were unwrapped and put to usually noisy use. In some ways this little gifts were more looked forward to than their bigger companions hopefully below the tree itself . It was as if then these were gifts in dreams rather than of dreams.

 

But what now of the Christmas nights in late adulthood? Well, it has to be said that most are too similar to those of the rest of the year to get much notice. But from time to time, the old spirit of excitement wells up. And for an instant there is something special about them. For if we are open, there is a whiff of wood-smoke mellowness, a sense of a deeper hope and an intangible feeling that this year things will be different. In fact, strange as it may seem, at the end of the year we can sniff a new beginning.

 

However, unlike childhood’s desire to rush towards the big day, now we want to walk to towards it slower and to linger in each minute of carolling waiting. We want to stop the clock.

 

Needless to say we can neither hurry this time nor decrease the pace of its passing. On the other hand, we can relish each second as it passes, open it as the presents they are and savour the thought – the thought as to how we could make the next one bigger and even better.

 
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Posted by on 21/12/2014 in christianity

 

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The scale of the problem

P5241432a On Saturday, I watched a Vulcan bomber zoom around the sky performing some pretty impressive aerobatics. Not I admit, the full sized bat winged warrior from the Cold War. Instead it was hugely impressive model. I say impressive as this replica of an iconic British aircraft had the wing span of a light aircraft and guzzled fuel at a more gluttonous rate.

However, as the model looped and spun about overhead, it was very easy to mistake it for the real thing. In particular, when high in the sky with nothing to give it scale you were sure that this off-stage spectre of the Cuban Missile Crisis drama had come to life literally with a roar.

But the point is anything without a sense of size – an indication of scale – grows to fill the mind’s open space. Certainly that’s true of our daily problems. Now that is not to trivialise the mountains people we constantly meet are labouring over. Yet most of have our normal niggles are genuinely set to nought, say,  against the scale of the drought in Niger; a looming catastrophe likely to cause the deaths of 400,000 children under age 5 alone.

The old adage then that you only solve your problems by looking at those of others is trite and doesn’t always work but, for many of us, it surely helps.

 

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Israel & Palestine – Full Spectrum

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This photo reminds us of the Railway Children, cabin trunks and porters with barrows. In fact, it’s toning helps us to look backwards. Yet to see things only in black & white misses a great deal. Take the current stand off between Israel and the Palestinians which is peaking with the Gazza Blockade. Now here is a situation that is all too easy to see in the monotone of our own preconceptions, limited information and even prejudices. And certainly there is no end to the violent conflicts of justice, safety, and religions surrounding the State of Israel. However, there is also a potentially rich panorama of cultures, talents and abilities that could give a much better view for all the people of the Middle East. Since if we do look at the world in full spectrum, it is more complex but it offers us more opportunities.

After all my photo was taken only a few weeks ago and it is better when we don’t look back but use what we have for the future.

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