Excess of joy or sorrow.

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I was born while the “stiff upper lip” brand of English was still in evidence. I learned from a child to be strong and keep my emotions on a tight leash. There is something to be said for this early training. I could never have survived and successfully brought up my kids alone without it. You set your feelings aside for the sake of others in order to deal with whatever crisis may arise.
Only in my senior years have I felt able to give my tears free range and I’ve come to realise, for me the things that bring tears most readily are intense joy, beauty and the moving of God’s spirit. It’s very seldom they come from sadness, perhaps my early training precludes much of this, or perhaps I just have a blessed life.
We are often embarrassed when tears come in public, (I still always try to quench them – tears are humbling lol!). However, if I examine my reaction to tears in others they bring feelings of compassion, empathy, and camaraderie.We feel close to those that cry for whatever reason. I don’t mean those self-seeking sorts that cry buckets for attention and think the world revolves around them, but rather those who humbly allow others this glimpse into their inner being, their joy and their sorrow.

Is Jesus crying this Christmas?

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Strange as it may seem, I think he cries every Christmas. Sorrow taints his joy all year long to see the pain, the hate, the sickness, the want, but it must be particularly tough at Christmas.

Why you ask? Surely he rejoices in the love and kindness prevalent in the Christmas season’s “conspiracies of love”? Surely he’s made happy by the love and praises of his followers at this time of year?

I’m sure our individual deeds and remembrance of him bring great joy to him, but I think this time must also bring great sorrow, especially this year.

Why?

You see Christmas originally celebrates his coming to earth to be with us, to save us. He came and healed the sick, preached peace, sharing, love for all mankind. He fought the politicians and religious bigots of his day, embraced the poor, the outcasts, the dregs of society and won the victory on the cross so we could be free of the hate, the evil, the fear and hypocrisy. He did it all, he won for us.

Yet as he looks over this war torn world, the evils performed in the name of God/ politics/ greed it must break his heart. Mankind is not free. The same evil forces rule this earth, the four horsemen still ride. He gave us an opportunity to follow, to heal the sick, rescue the afflicted, to love. He gave us power to free the world of evil.

Instead slowly Christianity devolved into a religion, embraced the corruptions of “politics”. Seduced by pride, abandoned pure love and began to operate in the fleshly realm rather than the spiritual. It lost its power to free mankind from the hate and even in some awful episodes became part of that evil.

Given light, mankind chose darkness, chose, pride, greed, hate, some knowingly embracing the powers of darkness most simply deceived, pawns in the game.

I felt a strange sadness in the air this Christmas, the joy more restrained. Every Christmas I spend a day giving out tracts with a message of love. My goal? – to cheer hearts and make folks smile (especially the sad lonely looking ones) and give them each a present from my heart – a chance of peace, of healing, of love. This year was different, many folks were preoccupied as if in deep sadness. Instead of happy smiles and Christmas greetings they looked startled, the smiles coming more slowly as if they thought, “oh yes, it’s Christmas isn’t it.”

I’m sure it has a lot to do with all that’s happened in Paris/ Syria etc. It’s hard to be happy when you know others are in need, when your own world feels threatened. I yet believe in the good hearts of folks. Like that great statement about when distressed by the calamities of the world, wait for the volunteers to pour in (he said it better.) When bad stuff happens you find heroes, selfless souls who go to help.

Even so, like us, I think Jesus knows both joy and tears at Christmas.

Love’s Completion.

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Tears of a different sort welling up. This month began with a wedding, with definable rows in chapel pews and glorious reception tables. There were tears there, rejoicing in their love.
These tears are more difficult to define. They come in a circle gathered together, inclusive, the object of the tears unseen. Again I watch a life’s story as photos flash upon a screen, a tall wiry frame, large eyes and over sized smile brimming with fun, engaging, inviting, accepting of all that ventured across his path.
His bride sits alone now, remembering. I hear confided whispers of her excitement on their wedding day. She couldn’t wait to marry this tall, gangly man with the big smile. You couldn’t call him good looking. He certainly wasn’t rich or famous, but he knew how to love without conditions. Though he knew our faults his love was so big it overshadowed them.
I heard of his children, no carers here had overseen his last fleeting moments, too precious to be shared with a nurse. His family had rotated 24/7, his children assisting in those most intimate acts he could no longer perform, a wayward son cradling him in his arms as he had once been cradled.
As I listened, taking in the moist eyes of others, I thought about life’s goals. This was how I wanted it to be at my memorial. His goal had been to love and he had achieved it.
The tears were not of sadness, though he would surely be missed. Like the fresh patter of rain washing away the dust and dirt of life, they cleansed our hearts and renewed our vision. I envied his wife to have known the love of such a man every day of her life.