When I was young and was doing Christmas preparations with my brother,we used to listen to Christmas songs, one of them has these lines in it:
Hallalujah Nowell, be it heaven or hell
at Christmas we get we deserve
Even as a child I puzzled over this, is the singer syaing that people get what they deserve at Christmas? That I deserved last Christmas and the approaching one?
At Christmas there will be so many people who will be facing debt because they have tried to provide presents and a good Christmas for their families, there will be people who face loved ones dying, there will be domestic violence, sometimes fueled by drink and sometimes leaving people needing hospital treatment, there will be affairs and breakups and rapes, there will be children who will be victims of abuse and violence, there will be people who have nothing for Christmas, no presents, no company, no food, (and how I wish I could find them and change that, but they are people who no one realises are there), there will be people who have bad memories at Christmas that includes me and a number of people who I know.
I don't believe that people always get what they deserve at Christmas, nor does 'everything come right'. It isn't always as dramatic as the shock storylines that the soaps do for Christmas where everyone has to die, go missing and get married and come out in order to keep everyone watching, but Christmas can be harsh for good people, and it can be good for bad people, all those wealthy people in the church who made me feel small and abused me will have a good Christmas in that they will have lots of food and nice things, but a majority of them do not really care or get real pleasure from it all.
I loved Christmas even in all those harsh years, until that terrible cruel Christmas with my abusers.
If you know anyone who might be struggling this Christmas, please see if you can help. Don't give in to all those tv charity adverts (unless you want to), guide dogs for the blind will still be there all year round, so will the rest of them. The stallholders on the market were talking about the old lady downstairs from them, they take her a dinner and wine and presents, no-one else is around for her, my pal who does the christmas lunch says that some of the people they collect for the lunch don't have any other outing all year.
Why am I rambling on? I don't know.
I remember the care home I worked for, I remember that I was going to commit suicide that Christmas, but I sent every resident in that 64-bed home a Christmas card with their name in, I got my friend who worked in the home to give me all their names and whether they preferred to be called by their first name, last name or nickname, and all of them got a personal card, my friend kept coming out and hugging me and saying how happy some of the residents were because it was the only card they had got or that they were amazed that the gardener knew their name and things like that, I got a few cards in return from them and their families and I made a few new friends that way.
Everybody needs to be loved and feel a sense of belonging, even more so at Christmas.
I remember feeling despondent before Christmas 2005, and I remember Lesley saying to me 'you are not alone, there are so many other people who feel isolated at this time, and Christmas is so family-orientated that people think of happy families, and those who haven't got happy families do feel left out'.
The quiz last night raised over £400 for the Salvation Army, who provide Christmas meals and presents and food for many poor people who would have nothing otherwise.
If you have a good Christmas to look forward to, then thank God for it, and please pray for those who are dreading this Christmas.