1st December 2020

Deacon Richard Beckett

A reflection for Christmas

At Christmas this year, you might want to have a quiet chat with God about the way things are – here is my attempt to put this in writing for myself:

Me: So God, it’s Christmas and I’m waiting for some gifts.

God: What are you waiting for?

Me: I’m waiting:  for an end to Covid19; I’m waiting to hug a parent, child and grandchild; to sing again in church; for an end to the daily hospitalisations and deaths; for a vaccine for all; to visit and be visited…..

God: You have already been waiting and hoping for these things for many months.

Me: Yes, you see I’m not good at waiting. The days seem to go by quickly and each Monday comes around very fast; each hour isn’t long enough and there’s never enough time in the day and yet these things which I yearn for most seem far off.

God: Yes, I see the problem. Of course your perception of time is very different to mine.

Me: I get that, after all you have been around since before the beginning of time but when I read the words of Psalm 90 (1) about a thousand years in your sight being like a day that has just gone by or even less than a day, it actually makes me feel inadequate and pessimistic about the progress humans have made in the relatively short space of time we have. A verse in the second letter of Peter says something very similar I remember (2).

God: Yes, and it reminds you that I am not slow to do what I have promised but I am patient with you because I want all people to turn their lives around and follow my ways. But I have all of eternity to work in and have been doing that since the beginning of time.

Me: Perhaps that’s my point. Humans don’t seem to have an eternity to sort the problems out. It feels as if I am waiting for an eternity and there is no end in sight.

God: There always has been a tendency for you to live as if the end of eternity will come in your lifetime and that has shaped the way in which you see all of existence. You need not be fearful or feel inadequate about only glimpsing a small part of the eternity I see.
I have entered into humanity’s eternity and seen it as you see it.
I have known the vulnerable existence of a baby.
I have felt the growing pains of childhood.
I have heard the voices of the accusers.
I have lived with your limitations but broken every boundary.

Me: So next you are going to tell me that the time I do have is an opportunity. A gift even!
That I should make the most of the time I have while I am waiting even though my heart aches for those I miss most and the grief for what was once possible seems intolerable. That the time I have while I wait is a gift which provides me with the opportunity to come closer to you. That every day is a gift, a gift you give which enables me to do something for someone else.

God: (…………silence)

Bible passages for reference:   (1) Psalm 90:1-6       (2) 2 Peter 3:8-9