Tuesday 2 December 2014

Light Shining on an Anxious Night

It's never nice to turn up in a strange town and have nowhere to stay.

Even in a nice big place - Taunton, say, Leeds or Skegness. Somewhere relatively well equipped with hotels. If you're stranded there with nowhere to go, even with your smartphone and the ability to shop around on the 'net. Even if, if worst came to worst, you could sleep in the car. It's not nice. It's a worry.

And if it's not the well-appointed relative luxury of a 21st century English town - and all three of those places I listed are, on a global and historical standard, luxury - what then? What when the town is a one-horse place, under foreign rule? What when you're an alien in your own land? When you're in your family's ancestral home - but it's a place that doesn't know you? When you're desperate, and poor, and your wife is 9 months pregnant, and you're desperate. And the only place with room and a roof is a barn? How do you feel then?

And the fear and uncertainty aren't taken away as, after a night of holding her, of trying and failing to share her pain, you look down at an exhausted wife and a bawling boy. A few pounds of frailty and flesh. Because you're still far from home, and your wife's going nowhere for a few days - and it's gonna be a while till she'll be up to the long schlep back to where you came from. And a succession of strange visitors, and the way your new kid seems to be acting like a homing beacon for every king - benign or malign - in the vicinity - it's not helping the happy home.

And even the new-found domesticity you carve out is smashed as you leg it - leaving behind a scene of carnage and misery, the bloody baggage of a fearful king. And you're on the run, and knowing that you'll be like this - homeless and alien, footsore and afraid - for a while to come yet.

This is no fairytale. The child draws need and anger after him - as he will his whole life - as the darkness falls into the gravity of his holiness. And still today - where evil men hunt and kill children, destroy the ones they fear, and try to drown out their own fear with other people's - he's there. The unknown king, the fugitive God. He's in the refugee camps, the besieged towns, the cradles of a million threatened children. And, though the men of darkness reign for a time, yet his light will still shine on, accepting and  holding and loving those holy innocents - men, women, children, babies. All those that suffer this darkness.

The light shines in the darkness. And, against all odds and often all appearances, the darkness has never overcome it. And it never will.


  1. Lovely!
    A blessed Christmas to you - may you be given the strength not to turn your back when darkness creeps in.

  2. Wonderful. The best Christmas reflection I could hope to read.

  3. Fantastic. We all need to be reminded of this


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