Sunday, December 23, 2007


What child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies he in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here the silent Word is pleading:
Nails, spear, shall pierce him through, the cross be borne, for me, for you:
Hail, hail the Word made flesh, the Babe, the Son of Mary!

So bring him incense, gold and myrrh, come peasant, king to own him,
The King of kings salvation brings, let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise the song on high, the Virgin sings her lullaby:
Joy, joy for Christ is born, the Babe, the Son of Mary.

Maybe it's that I've spent half this year being a babysitter, but for some reason this Christmas I can't stop thinking about how thoroughly amazing it is that God should come to us, and come as a baby. As something so vulnerable, so humble, so dependent, so unassuming, yet something that symbolises the promise and potential that every human is given from the start of their lives.

I can't put it into words, but if anyone were to ask me right now what separates Christianity from other religions, or what makes our God special, I would say - he came as a baby. Christ born in a humble stable, laid in a manger, and the first people to hear of his birth mere shepherds - that tells me something about the character of our God that seems so powerful to me that I can't quite understand why people forget about it in favour of tinsel, Santa Claus and "Jingle Bell Rock".
Merry Christmas, everyone - I hope you have a lovely day tomorrow (or the day after, depending on your timezone) with your loved ones.

Friday, December 07, 2007

split personality

There's something about having an injury like mine that brings out both my strengths and weaknesses. About two weeks ago I broke my heel, and less than a week ago my heel was diagnosed as being broken. I am now in plaster for about four or five more weeks and I'm not allowed to put ANY weight on my right leg. None. I can do basically nothing.

The worst: When I am just tired and depressed and lonely, when I've just almost fallen over again, when I've crawled up the stairs and then realised I left the most crucial thing at the bottom, when I've walked about ten metres and already have to sit down again, when I remember something else I was going to do over the next month that I can't do now, when I think of the hard work and physiotherapy and time it's going to take just to get me normal again if I'm lucky - all I can think about is how much this sucks, how much I want to cry, and WHY ME GOD? Who cares about other things going on in the world and how they measure up to this relatively? What difference does it make that I have family around who want to help me and access to medical help? Then I start feeling selfish and it's even worse.

The best: At times there is part of me that looks around wherever I am - maybe the Emergency Department where I got my cast on - and I cannot escape seeing people that are far worse off than me, like the woman who lay on her floor with a broken shoulder for a whole day until a friend found her, or the old man who is lying on his bed looking grey and not speaking. There are other times when I wonder if it's not actually a bad thing to understand what it feels like to be cut off from things you want to do, to be housebound, to be dependent on others for basic necessities. And sometimes I almost want to thank God for using my accident, a not wonderful thing in itself, to teach me something.

I still need prayer to get through the depressing part though!

My point is, though - maybe it's not great that when I'm at my weakest I am despairing, yelling at God for allowing this to happen. But I think perhaps God doesn't need us to be cheerful all the time. Maybe it's better if we can praise him joyfully in all circumstances and stay optimistic even when it's hardest. But the important thing is that it's God I'm yelling at, God I'm imploring, and God I'm leaning on when I find it hardest to stand on my own (and I say that both literally and figuratively!).