By Ruth Limkin
News. There’s been plenty of it over the last week.
I’ve had lots of really good news in a professional capacity. A complex, time sensitive and compliance dependant project was completed successfully and on time. Key volunteers and supporters have been added to the team for another portfolio, along with some needed financial support.
Personally, there’s been lots of good news as well. I have extended holidays to look forward to with all of the possibility that’s wrapped up in that. Friends have got engaged. Other friends have pulled off a spectacular performance piece they have been rehearsing for months.
There’s been a lot to celebrate.
In the midst of laughter, relief, squeals of excitement, happy welcomes and generous hugs, there’s also unfortunately been sadness.
There was the news that a childhood friend has been placed on life support.
A note arrived with news that a much loved older relative of another friend had taken quite ill.
Someone else told me news of other friends who have a child in desperate pain.
All of this at Christmas.
Life can be both wonderful, and achingly heartbreaking, and often in the same day. One breath can be filled with joy, while the next inhales profound sorrow. We have learnt through both prose and melody that ‘for everything there is a season’, yet sometimes the seasons collide and twirl about each other, refusing to be ordered.
Life is not fair. Ends sometimes come too quickly. Yet the poignancy and hope of Christmas is that one new beginning meant that all the ends are not.
The Christian message, the message of Christmas, is that unto us a child was given. To darkness, this child brought light. To grief, this child brought hope. While such a hope can be carried alone, the act of carrying that hope together – for and with one another – makes us both givers and recipients of strength.
Ultimately, the message of Christmas is that we are not alone, and whether it’s a time to laugh, or particularly when it’s a time to cry, that’s very, very good news.