Thought for the month

Stepping out of the Stable
One year I was standing in a queue at a supermarket just before Christmas
and I saw on a rack, a January edition of some sort of home magazine. I
must have been rather tired or something because I found my eyes filling
with tears. I was so longing to finally get to Christmas, to Bethlehem, finally come to the stable, with everything done or not done – but there anyway, – that the thought of then rolling on and out into January, was awful.
Actually, when the time comes, I do find myself ready – gladdened by the
lengthening days and hopefully rested enough to look at new challenges
with pleasure rather than desperation.
But I am writing this at the very beginning of Advent and am a little amused
to find that the idea of January (at this point) still appals me.
Well, when we read this, we will be there – and I trust be glad to be. We all
have to leave the stable and carry what we found within, out, into the
If we enjoyed feasting, then perhaps in 2020 we might see how we can help
those who are hungry. If we enjoyed the warmth of our home on dark
nights we might resolve to do something about homelessness. If the weather was very different from what we expected, we might decide to pull our finger out about climate change. If we were glad to see our families and
were able to give something to people we loved, perhaps this year we will
consider those who are alone, or those who struggle to buy even the basic
necessities for their children.
If at midnight on Christmas eve, we were overwhelmed by awe, knowing
that God is, and loves us and, in Jesus, comes to be with us in all our vulnerability, our darkness and our mess – then perhaps in 2020 we might be brave enough to speak more, and more fully, of God and the wonder of
God’s mercy, so that others may encounter such a moment.
There is a very lovely carol that should accompany us through January. It
isn’t often sung now but it is called the Shepherd’s farewell and it begins
‘Thou must leave thy lowly dwelling, the humble manger, stable bare’. It is
the Shepherd’s prayer for the little Jesus, they fear for him in the wide world. It is their prayer for him, if you like, for all the challenges that January holds.
It ends by repeating this, twice. ‘God go with thee, God protect thee, guide
thee safely through the wild’.
Pondering it now, I am comforted about the New Year. Jesus leaves the
stable and comes with us into 2020, into the new decade and will help us
with all the good that we want to do. So….
Happy New year!

God go with you!

Kate Plant