Sunday, 8 December 2013


I have been hugely grateful for my contemplative practice these last few months.  The simple discipline of pausing regularly to bring myself to stillness before God has been my anchor through some turbulent storms.  And Ann Liddell's words, 'With Jesus in the vessel I smile at the storm', have been a constant musical mantra in my head.

My planned time of writing was unfortunately cut short due to further illness and difficulties with my elderly father.  From a month of quiet solitude I found myself plunged into a veritable whirlwind of decisions, actions and bedside times and for several weeks the demands of the present and the pressures of the moment dominated my life completely. 

Thankfully, all is well.  But I'm reminded that we're frequently not in control of our own lives, in the way we'd like to be, are we?  I had to set aside my writing projects to focus on more immediate priorities.  And I can think of  many known to me for whom the run up to Christmas is far from how they would have preferred it to be.  People who are struggling, grieving, fearful; people whose lives have been turned upside down at the drop of a hat.  People who today shudder at the words, 'Merry Christmas'.  People who may well be asking, 'Where's God in all this?'. 

My awareness of 'God in all this', though often shaken, renews and deepens itself through stillness and silence.  In the deep place of prayer I experience the truth of those words, 'I am with you always'.  He is, whether or not we feel him to be.  The One who entered our world in the messy reality of a Bethlehem stable, birthing himself in the midst of a struggling, oppressed community - that's the one who still invites us, moment by moment, to let Him be birthed in our lives.  He knows about struggle.  He knows about the imperfections of our world.  And He knows about solutions.

So, let's celebrate the birth of Jesus with every ounce of our being.  But let's also hold in our hearts those who need to know His presence most at this special time.

I thank you all for your friendship and support and wish you all a peaceful Christmas.