Most people I know have had a turbulent year. And then Christmas was suddenly upon us. Plenty have decided to flag it altogether: no cards, no gifts, no relatives, no fuss. I let it slide to a certain point and then suddenly I want: carols and oratorios, the scent of pine needles, tinselly evenings full of quiet expectation; my family. Some of that’s pure sentiment, or the longing for what won’t come again, but something vital endures in this festival that celebrates a new baby on the earth.
Whatever we make of the rest of Jesus’ life and death and after-death, with his birth a seed was planted in the soil of humanity, a seed of great pedigree, in whose growth was invested great hope.
And that’s the archetype that makes Christmas worth considering. Each new life calls forth a measure of that same royal hope and expectation â€” that the child will grow and thrive and live out the fullest expression of which it is capable â€” even if it takes 100 years.
Potent ideas and initiatives call for the same spirit of hope, and the same investment of time and attention, which might be called love.
I think that’s all I should say. I don’t want to make a sermon. Happy Christmas, friends. I long for your simple, essential, lovely hopes, plans, dreams (and where necessary, babies) to take root in the coming year.