Wednesday, 14 December 2011


N.B. All of the following 11 blogs are because I am reading ‘Do Nothing, Christmas Is Coming’ by Stephen Cottrell, ‘an advent calendar with a difference.’

Today we had a joint men/women’s House of Prayer. It was good fun, interesting to share with the men also – (although a bit weird that they were there). Diane asked us to share various moments in our lives – the best and worst thing of 2011, reasons why we were special, and the happiest three moments in our lives. The last topic for me was the very hardest. I have had many happy moments in my life. But perhaps the happiest three also carry with them the deepest hurt: perhaps because the highest moments in our lives carry the potential for us to fall the furthest.

Interestingly for today’s advent reading – all three ‘happy’ moments are in some way connected to children:
1)    Anyone who knows me at all will know my passion and heart for the Philippines and the children and people I met there. The children and young people at Joyland have been especially on my mind recently, as it is getting close to Christmas and I long so much to share this time with them. They are so dear to my heart, and I am sparsely happier than when I am spending time with them - but of course it means that I feel such a great sense of loss when I am so far away.
2)    When I first came to Southend I was broken in so many ways, but there was one family that I became particularly close to and began to spend a lot of time with. The kids treated me like a big sister, and I loved them all as if they were my younger siblings. I enjoyed every moment I spent with the family, and always felt like I belonged. They welcomed me in, even at the most inconvenient times, and they helped me in too many ways for me to count. I loved them all. Unfortunately, over the last few years a few things have changed, and things are no longer as they once were. I still love them all just as much as I ever have, but it has been heartbreaking to share with them in their pain over the last few years.
3)    My niece is the absolute apple of my eye. I love her to the moon and back, and she makes me smile on the worst of my days. Being able to share in her growing and learning has been amazing. She is beautiful, funny and loving and growing up much too fast. (3 years old next week!) Unfortunately the world she is growing up into is not one I would wish on any child. I wish that I could in some way prevent her from ever finding out about the selfishness and greed that leads to so much suffering in the world. The look in her eyes the first time she learns about the conditions other children have to live in will break my heart. She is so privileged to have so much, but so many other children aren’t.

I hope you don’t mind me sharing those. (Well, if you do you don’t have to keep reading…) It has been helpful for me to share, without worrying about the tears in my eyes. Learn to see the world through a child’s eyes – do not hide away from the suffering. Allow it to sink into your soul – to break your heart as it does a child’s. But also learn to see the innocence in the world again – the majesty. The awesomeness of God come down to earth as a newborn baby.

DNCIC recommendations for today:
·      Receive the Christmas story like a child.
·      Take some child-like delight in what is happening around you today.
·      Be amazed at the breath in your lungs, the pulse in your wrist, the wind in the trees, the sun upon your face, the water in your tap, the stars in the sky and the smiles on the faces of all the people who will look at you as if you are mad when you kneel down in the street and give thanks for the profligate goodness of the world that is given to us today.
·    Remember that you learned life’s really important lessons at nursery school; sit still, share your toys and clean up after yourself. If we managed these three there would be peace in the world!

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein
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