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What Christmas is all about

The memories of Christmas past,
of music, friendships sworn to last;
Of stories, presents, songs and rhymes,
and hopeful thoughts of future times -- 

These all conspire to contradict
the seeming lack of Christmas script;
the absent smiles, the hectic pace,
The angst of now forgotten grace.

They linger in my memory -- 
A vague remembrance of the mirth; 
But mirth with depth, and faithful friends
Whose love portrayed their priceless worth. 

Those memories of Christmas past
Were always filled with lights and sounds
Of music, joy, and images
of Christ whose grace could know no bounds.

But now it seems that these are gone:
heartfelt prayers of real concern,
Scents and colors of the trees,
the warmth and glow when candles burn. 

There's little music now, it seems,
Reminding us of manger scenes,
An angel with his clarion call:
"A Savior's born, God's gift to all."

Be not deceived by missing signs
of Jesus' birth amid the fray
Of hurried shoppers, harried crowds
and everyone who's lost their way.

The angel's call is clear and true:
"The Savior comes with life for you."
Grasp on to Him, accept His gift
And blessed you'll be with life anew!

Robert Deimel 2017
December Reflection

Vero help my father with a bonfire at this time of year, to get rid of the material we now recycle. Another great pleasure, subsequently shared with my children and our dog and now with grandchildren, was to go out to a local wood (as a Hampshireman I would say the New Forest is best) on a brisk, clear and dry day and kick through the leaves. So much more fun than jumping in puddles. Quite often we would come home to a bonfire. There was an art to lighting a bonfire; patience was required to set it properly but if successful it would sometimes smoulder for several days, much to my delight. It’s many years since I lit a bonfire. Probably it is not permitted. Certainly we now know that it is not “green” although my father always dug the ash in to the soil.

I am indebted to one of our Methodist Local Preachers who in a recent sermon drew attention to a poem written by Laurence Binyon, The Burning of the Leaves. Binyon is best known for his lines that are spoken and read every year at Remembrance, “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old”. In The Burning of the Leaves he writes of the leaves, “They go to the fire; the nostril pricks with smoke wandering slowly into a weeping mist”. I can almost smell it as I write. And then writes Binyon, “All burns! The reddest rose is a ghost; sparks whirl up, to expire in the mist: the wild fingers of fire are making corruption clean”. He continues, “The world that was ours is a world that is ours no more”. Everything is gone. He finishes, “Nothing is certain, only the certain spring”.

Early autumn can be a beautiful season but I often think of late autumn and early winter as a dark time. The colour of most of the flowers and even the foliage is gone. The clocks have gone back. The solemnity and memory of Remembrance have been observed. The days are short and often grey. But just as dawn always follows night, just as for Binyon only the spring is certain, just as it is always darkest before the dawn, so we see light ahead. For us the light that is Christmas illuminates even our darkest moments.

As the season changes and we move in to December we see ahead the light that is the birth of Jesus. Of course His light has to be seen amidst the other lights that dazzle and tempt. Properly observed those other lights can and should be enjoyed. But if we discern it He offers the true light and a purpose that the darkness cannot obscure. He makes our corruption clean and our world is His world if we let it be so. Happy Christmas!

 
Tim Mead

Meth church

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