“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
The quote (in case you don’t recognise it) is from Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” and is his description of Europe at the time of the French revolution. For me it equally describes the experience of being in the middle of the Christmas rush, with all the busyness and goodwill and tinsel and chaos.
In the light of ‘the rush’, I’ll be brief, but I must ask you to pray with me for our country. We seem to be in the grip of the worst fires in recorded history!
A friend of mine is amongst the many who have lost their homes, and Bob sends me the photos from Binacrombi. It hasn’t been hit yet (thanks be to God) but the smoke is so thick there sometimes that you can’t see your hand in front of your face.
I know some scientists believe that it’s already too late to recover from global warning and that things will only get worse from here. I pray that they are wrong. I pray too for our many courageous fire-fighters, including the countless volunteers. Strengthen and protect them, O Lord!
Of course, it’s not only Australia. The whole world seems to be on fire (literally as well as figuratively). My friends in Syria are buckling in for a harsh winter without access to diesel to heat their homes (courtesy of our draconian sanctions). Meanwhile, the situation in Palestine continues to degenerate, and our dear brother, Julian Assange, continues to languish in Belmarsh Prison – paying the price for telling the truth!
Forgive me if none of this rings of Christmas Cheer. There are plenty of lights shining in the darkness. We have not given up the struggle, and I’m trusting that the New Year is going to bring with it new vigor as we continue to fight the good fight together.
If you’re in the Dulwich Hill over the next few days I can assure you too that there will be plenty of love and laughter circulating here. You would be very welcome to join in.
- Christmas Carols on the lawn on Christmas Eve (Tuesday) from 7 pm
- Christmas Eucharist at 9.15 am on Christmas Day (Wednesday)
And for anyone who will be themselves on Christmas Day, you are welcome to join me and my family for lunch from midday onwards. Just give me a bit of notice that you’re coming in case I need to add a few more tinnies to the fridge.
Christmas, for most of us, is a time for family, which is also why there are more suicides at Christmas than any other time of year. A lot of us don’t want to be reminded of what happened to our families, and the pristine images of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus only highlight our own failings.
But not so fast! While religious art has always depicted the holy family as an image of perfection, the Gospel accounts themselves are far more realistic. The birth circumstances of Jesus are far from ideal, and with Jesus’ broader family, there were plenty of skeletons in the closet!
Take a moment to listen to Matthew’s account of Jesus family and you may find that it is not too dissimilar to your own! The written version is here.
I do pray that you have a great Christmas and New Year. A big thank you to all my faithful friends and supporters this year. 2019 has probably been the most difficult year of my life and you guys have helped me get through.
Like the view from my cabin at Binacrombi, it’s hard to know what lies ahead for me in 2020. Even so, I am trusting that the God who has brought me this far will both bless and protect me and my children in the year to come. I believe I still may have my best fights left in me, and I look forward to having you stand alongside me in the rounds that lie ahead.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.
Yours in the Good Fight,