Last week, I stood in the not-so-little town of Bethlehem looking up at the city’s dividing wall. Though somewhat beautified by thought-provoking art, it’s still a powerful symbol of injustice and makes daily life horrific for many.
But then, as the sun rose at the start of today, I listened to the happy news that the UN had reaffirmed the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories. 2016 has been the year of the wall, but how nice to have an unexpected Christmas reminder of mercies that are new every morning.
Then I bought some tulips for mum. My favourite flower and the first I’ve seen for a while, I said to the florist. Yes, she replied, their season is just beginning. It’s a lovely sign, she continued, that spring is on its way. Holding the bouquet in my bandaged arm, I breathed in deeply, feeling that same flicker of optimism that comes with learning that Aslan is on the move.
How sad, I thought, that this church’s poster failed to capture even the slightest bit of the awesomeness, beauty and transformational hope of the Christmas message (although it’s so bad that it’s actually good, and at least put a rueful smile on my face).
Here’s to peace on earth. Here’s to incarnation in the bleak midwinter. Here’s to this being for life, not just for Christmas.