Amma Sue - January 2014

posted 9 Feb 2014, 06:48 by Richard Jones   [ updated 9 Feb 2014, 06:48 ]

Dear Friends, 

 At this the darkest time of the year, its good for our well-being to keep times of celebration, something that had been known by our ancestors from time immemorial; and so it is, at that this time of year has a long history of festivals designed to celebrate light, the sun, and joy.  For our pagan ancestors such celebrations were part of strategy to “call the sun back” and so bring light and growth and health back to defeat the darkness and the cold.  For Christians of course this is the time of year when we celebrate the coming into the world of the Son of God who brought life and health to a humanity that had walked a long way from the original path that God had designed for creation.  And this time of year remains a season of celebration for even the most secular of folk as they too find their thoughts turned towards those they love, and those who are in need, and so bring some light and joy to others. 

 But Christmastide and New Year celebrations can however, be the most difficult time of year for some folk. For in our modern world all too easily this time of year brings extra pressures and worries as well, and as the world concentrates on the comforting fantasy of “The Perfect Family”, there are many people for whom this time of year is far from celebratory. While even those of us who are blessed with loving ‘good enough’ family relationships can still be seduced by the mass marketing of “The Perfect Family” and fall into thinking that if we are only really loving if we try to live up to “The Perfect Family” images all around us.  And when we, as inevitably we will, fall short of the fantasy we find ourselves feeling depressed or disappointed, or worse guilty because it hasn’t been “perfect”. Indeed there are many who will find that far from being a celebration the end of the year has brought redundancy and job losses or a serious reduction in their pension funds and savings. So, Christmastide and New Year is, just like the rest of human life, a profound mixture of joy and sorrow. Just like the life of the Saviour whose coming we celebrate throughout the 40 days of Christmastide.  For the birth of Emmanuel, God with us, that most joyous of joys would be an empty celebration without those deepest of sorrows his life, passion and death.  There is no where therefore that is God forsaken, for in Jesus God has transformed even the darkness of grief, pain and death into the light of joy and eternal life. 

 And so, even in the reality of the darkness we can find joy, not the fleeting joy of the fantasy of “The Perfect Family” but a deep, indestructible joy.  For we can be joyful of heart because the light has come, not the light that must be tempted back by Yule logs and candles each winter solstice, but the light that is the Light of the World, the true Light that came into the world and the darkness could not overcome. 

 With every blessing

 Amma Sue