Two days ago it was Sunday and there was a beautiful Carol Service at our Church in the evening. The big, beautiful building was dark, and endless golden flames bobbed on the rows of little candles at the bottom of the stained glass windows. The organ, the orchestra and the choir filled the front of the Church while the rest of the building was so packed that people had to sit in the aisle and stand at the sides, the back, the hallway and on the stairs. People squashed together on the pews and had to share service sheets. There is nothing I love better than a full Church with Christmas Carols.
My solo, O Holy Night, went well despite slight nerves and Hark the Herald blew the roof off with it's splendour. By the end, my throat hurt from singing; as well as my ears from all the cymbals. It was lovely, to say in the least. It must have converted many non-Christians. Man, it was beautiful.
Yesterday I heard the news that a girl I used to know several years ago died in a car crash in America. We used to go to Sunday school together. I remember her well; she was the bubbliest, cheerfullest girl of the group; she wore bright bracelets and cool trousers. Probably around the time I was innocently singing O Holy Night, she was laughing her last laugh, saying her last words before being tossed into a coma state by a car slipping into a van, bought to hospital where she died hours; minutes later. I didn't know this girl, Anna, well at all. I remember her; how the kids adored her and how good she was at sports. I remember her infectious smile. I remember her last time at Sunday school, before she left to America, and how we prayed for her. Despite those few memories, I don't know Anna at all, but my heart and prayers are with her friends (she probably had loads) and family. She was only eighteen.
Then I heard about the lorry attack in Berlin, at a Christmas market. People drinking Glüwine one second; dead the next. Twelve dead; fifty wounded. Not again.
Part of me sarcastically mumbles Merry Christmas.
A Happy Christmas is obviously not attainable for all, to say in the least. I am everlastingly thankful that I will have a happy one, but I am keenly aware that I am one of the lucky ones. Part of me; no, in fact, everything in me is reminded of the fact that Jesus is the hope. Those Berlin attack victims, Anna - they are dead; gone. Their loved ones mourn and they will be reminded of their deaths, and re-mourn, every single Christmas. But oddly and ironically, this gives us all the more reason to celebrate Christmas. They and we are reminded that Christmas is not persé ladida and Christmas crackers and family love. God willing, it is, but the world is corrupt and it has been bruised and it will continue to be bruised till He comes.
But Jesus came and He will come again. He came to the world, died for our sins. We are set free. We have a hope and Christmas makes the hope ever keener and even stronger. We need, God knows, we need keen and strong hope in a world like ours. The world doesn't stop spinning around the 25th of December - in fact, 25th of December should ring the hope even louder. :-D
I know I shouldn't feel guilty, being excited for Christmas. I am excited! Grandma and Granddad are coming over from England, my Mum's side of the family will all be barging into our house on Christmas Eve, we'll sing carols and eat turkey and listen to the Royal Christmas speeches. We'll crack Christmas crackers and open gifts and play games and go to Church. A few days ago I got Emma's package in the mail and I got really excited - it's so square. I love square packages; they're so much more exciting than flat ones. It's going to be a wonderful day and I'm definitely looking forward to it.
However, you know, I realise I'm lucky. I echo my earlier sentiments. :-)
What are you guys doing for Christmas? (I will refrain from saying Merry Christmas to you because it's still a week and I must waaaait. :-P) I shall finish this post with a cute little Christmassy emoji. Because one must do new things now and then, right-ho, deal ol' fellow human? Here ya go: 🎄)