Christmas And New Year Greetings

Greetings to you all, and many thanks for your wishes, gifts or prayers. This Christmas morn I walked towards Cuthbert?s sun-lit beach and recalled these lines of Kathleen Raine:

Aidan and Cuthbert saw God?s feet walking each day towards all who on world?s shores await his coming.

That we too, hand in hand, have received the unending morning.

And this St Aidan?s Prayer from Bradford Cathedral:

Let the rumble of traffic diminish and the song of the birds grow clear and may the Son of God come striding towards you.

**********

On Christmas night Holy Island?s Vicar, Brother Damian, told how an island boy went into the lambing shed of farmer Jimmy Patterson. Adults were busy elsewhere, but this little boy, having time to explore, heard something in the corner, out of sight, hidden by old machinery. It was a lamb that no one had noticed being born. ?I have found Jesus? the little boy excitedly told the adults. 'Jesus is the Lamb of God, who is among us, but over-looked and marginalised', Brother Damian said. ?But supposing we kept in mind all day and every day that Jesus is with us, in this place, wherever we are, what difference would it make??

Why don?t we do this in 2008?

Some weeks before Christmas a troubled man and his wife came to Holy Island. They sought out first this person, then the Vicar, then a Minister, and none were available. Someone said ?Why don?t you knock on that door??. It was the door of The Life Boat House, where Graham and Ruth Booth live. Graham was utterly exhausted after a punishing series of undertakings. He had just sat down to a cup of coffee when the door bell rang.? ?Oh no?, he thought, ?I have nothing to give.? The man began to talk about his dilemmas. Graham realised that he was not listening. However, someone came beside Graham and spoke loudly into his ear. Graham repeated what this person said to him. And, although this kind of thing was not in Graham?s tradition, he knew without a doubt that this person speaking to him was Aidan. He repeated to the troubled man what Aidan said. After each sentence the man clutched his stomach and said ?Oh?. Shortly afterwards the couple left. Before Christmas Graham received a letter. The man explained that every word Graham (and Aidan) had spoken had cut to his heart and he had carried them out. He had resigned from all kinds of things, and now served Jesus among the poor. He was free, more free than he had ever been in his life, and he wanted to thank Graham and Aidan.

The endless rush and consumerism of a western Christmas is absent on Holy Island. But the best Christmas gifts are not made by man.

So I wish you such Christmas gifts as I have described . May your Christmas last for ever.

You are in my thoughts. Much love Ray

Posted at 05:42am on 25th December 2007
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