Here’s my thought for the day from Radio Scotland, for Christmas Eve. Looking at it, it shares the thoughts of my previous blog post, but I’m sure that doesn’t count as plagarism.
There’s always a little adventure in going to the studios in Selkirk to do this live. Last time it was that there were roadworks, and no way to get to the studio, which meant I had to abandon the car and race to the studio, with a minute to spare, heart thudding in my chest. This week the doorbell wasn’t working, and the producer who was due to let me in hadn’t been told I was coming. Glad I had that hammer…
So here it is, Christmas Eve, and in a mere nineteen hours I shall go to bed, Midnight Mass being Celebrated, and Christmas with us once more.
When tragedy strikes at Christmas, it can feel more sharp than at any other time. Everything gets intensified, as the hope and joy of Christmas comes crashing against the brutal reality of the world. There will be families in Glasgow this year whose Christmas is full of sorrow, others whose hours will be full of anxiety as they sit by the hospital beds of their loved ones. And in every church in Glasgow and in Scotland, at every Watchnight service and every Midnight Mass, those people will be remembered – as we gather and pray for all who suffer.
It can seem sometimes as though the happiness of Christmas is a mere illusion. At times of trouble, despair can feel more real, more truthful than goodness.
And there’s something of both of course in the stable of our Christmas story. The dirt and the danger, the vulnerable life of a small child, hope and beauty.
There was beauty too in the streets of Glasgow, amid the shock and confusion. There were people giving food, hugging strangers, giving shelter and comfort, laying flowers and weeping with those who mourned. The human spirit was never more alive in all it’s beauty, than when it was confronted by the ugliness of tragedy. Glasgow was alive with saints that day, giving kindness when it was most needed.
Tonight, I’ll look out on the candlelit faces of my congregation, and I will see some folk there who are alive with hope, some weighed down with grief, some surrounded by their loved ones, and some who come alone. And we will gather together, and we will pray for those who mourn, and we remember that deeper truth – the hope that we are given, and the love that we share.