Whoever and wherever you are …

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I cannot imagine how I leapt between taking what was intended to be a week’s break from the 21st October, until now! But then, so much about 2020 has proved unimaginable and – at any rate – I now find myself reflecting upon the heart of ‘The Christmas Story’ and the importance attached therein to the arrival of a tiny bundle of helpless vulnerability into impossibly difficult circumstances.

A baby. Any baby (the primary point, I believe, of this story of ‘incarnation’ or ‘in-flesh-ness’): a once-upon-a-time you-or-me-shaped baby. How could we think that such a tiny package of heart, soul, mind and body could ever survive and thrive within a fractious environment like life on Planet Earth?

Well: instead of thinking, we have to engage in believing, and then make the leap from believing into loving, and feeding and cherishing and nursing and supporting until tiny vulnerability progresses from infant to toddler, to scholar, to teenager, to adulthood – all the while retaining the blueprint of vulnerability with which we all arrive in this world, and with which we will depart it.

Whether born in a cattle-shed or a palace, all-inclusive loving is the only viable way forward from human nativity onwards – and that very loving (whether giving or receiving) is fraught with human risk and unreliability.

Wherever we are in the world today, you who are my known and beloved friends and family, and you whose lives (and vulnerabilities) I’ll never see or know or imagine, steeped as we are in the world’s many and varied belief and support systems, may reflection upon our own incarnation, vulnerability, and continuing development remind us of the roads we’ve travelled, and will keep on travelling, one baby-step at a time. And therein, may we find Peace xx



It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendours fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

E H Sears

un jour sans pain est un jour sans vie
a day without bread is a day without life

The little one born in a stable (and in other stables) beneath the stars in Bethlehem (which in Hebrew means House of Bread)  arrived in a ‘birthday suit,’ a marvellous and extraordinary strategy adopted by every little one that had come before, and every little one that came after – insofar as instantly recognisable humanity is the only (and the only important) identification. Alpha and Omega. In this Beginning, and in every Beginning, and in the Beginning at the End.

Fleetingly, unaffiliated, unclothed and unbadged, this little one, every little one, belongs only to the One Universal Family.

Fleetingly, unaffiliated, unclothed and unbadged, this little one, every little one, arrives as a sign, an angel, a message, something anointed, something breathed into, Some One to be remembered and celebrated. Like the bread of life itself. Like the milk of human kindness and compassion.

Clear as cold night air the message of the arrival, of all such arrivals, touches humankind.

un jour sans pain est un jour sans vie
a day without bread is a day without life

Let the whole earth give back the song which – all too fleetingly – these little ones sing.

From my heart to your heart, whomsoever and wheresoever you may be: may you have a kind, full and thankful heart. And the Shalom of good bread tonight.