Today (Monday 20th of December) as I prepared to post this hymn it seemed especially pertinent. Though written over twelve years ago I still need the help of the revelation of Christmas to erase my selfishness. Then I heard the news of rising COVID being interrupted by reports of dead children, the reminder of killings in Myanmar and a typhoon having caused many deaths in the Philippines some days ago. News I’d rather not hear, but in all my celebration, ought not to ignore. Christmas is real when the cost that we measure reaches the manger and touches the skies, shop fronts give way to divine revelation, God is among us and selfishness dies. Christmas is real when the gifts that are given mirror the love of this God upon earth, God who is known in self-giving and loving crowning our poverty, coming to birth. Christmas still echoed when screams of the children, slaughtered by Herod inflamed people's fear. Christmas remains when the trees and the tinsel make way for news that we'd rather not hear. Christmas is real when we enter the squalor mirrored in Bethlehem so long ago; off'ring the love that was seen in the God-head, total self-giving not baubles and show. Andrew E. Pratt Words © 2008 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd Metre:11 10 11 10 Tune: EPIPHANY HYMN As we celebrate Christmas may we be open to the need around about us, and let us continue our journey through Holy Innocents, Epiphany and Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple.
Three men by a manger, the camels are spitting;
the inn keeper proffers a flagon of ale.
The strangers are weary, the passage was dreary,
this ship of the desert, has furled up its sail.
The stars had moved slowly, they’d hoped to be early,
our Christmas had placed them right there at the birth,
but Herod had waited, his anger not sated,
two years rambled slowly till wrath seared the earth.
It all seems a muddle, and yet we will huddle,
repeating the story from long, long ago;
what matters the timing when love sets bells chiming,
and just for this season our time can run slow.
Andrew Pratt 22/12/2019
Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.