Thought for the Day : Wednesday 23 December

Thought for the Day by Heston Groenewald (All Hallows’)

It came upon the midnight clear
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to all,
From heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Peace on earth and goodwill to all?! Yes please we’ll all take a dose of THAT this crazy Covid + Brexit year.

And I wonder this Christmas.. do you also find yourself drawn to the carols with minor chords and melancholy tones? The ones which refuse to whitewash everything with jolly happy jingle bells:

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

Hark! This Christmas, I’m grateful to hear the angels sing of HOPE which is not just blind optimism. To hear their song of God rolling up his sleeves to be born among us – to be *with us* in utter vulnerability to real life and all its pressures and pain.

Hark! Hear them sing of *Immanuel* and his family fleeing to Egypt as refugees; growing up without a penny to his name; dying as an enemy of the state, scorned by the crowds, betrayed and abandoned by his friends and followers.

Hark! Hear them sing of God humbling himself to live and walk with us, sharing our humanity and inviting us into his divinity: to join him at the place (AS the place) where God’s endless self-giving love meets the real world’s real pressures and pain. Including our own.

Hark! This is a song for life, not just for Christmas:

For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And all the world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

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