The recent snow and frost brings beautiful frosty patterns, snow that’s deep and crisp and even. On Tuesday I was sitting by a log fire in a local pub… the classic Christmas cards showing a Victorian snow scene where all are warm, merry and bright.
In contrast the treacherous conditions have caused numerous road traffic accidents… elderly folk with restricted mobility dare not venture out… there are worries about heating and fuel bills…
Beauty and comfort side by side with difficulties and problems
…reading about St David (Welsh patron saint) – entering his monasteries:
‘Whoever desired this saintly way of life and sought to enter the company of the brethren had first to remain for ten days outside the doors of the monastery, as if rejected and reduced to silence by words of abuse. If he exercised patience and stood there until the tenth day he was admitted…’
…reading ‘James’ in my Bible: ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds…’ He says that trials are good because they develop our patience, perseverance, and maturity.
Trials, troubles, suffering… side by side with patience, perseverance, strength…
‘Side by side’ means: ‘in a line next to each other, close together and facing the same direction.’ A ‘side-by-side vehicle’ (SSV) is ‘an off-road vehicle with at least two side-by-side seats…’.
The season of Advent emphasises peace, joy, love, faith, hope. The Christmas narrative tells of the birth of a baby, promises kept, light in a dark world, God’s presence.
It also tells of an unexpected teenage pregnancy, homelessness, rejection, discomfort, innocent children murdered, uncertainty, pain, God’s apparent absence.
This Christmas there will be the joy… celebration, food, presents, warmth, belonging, family traditions, love…
There will be sadness… those who’ve lost loved ones this year… the Ukrainian families I met last Saturday… those who feel the guilt of not providing as they think they should.
Joy and sadness… close together… facing the same direction… travelling side by side.