It’s two o’clock in the morning on Christmas Eve. Everyone around me is sleeping. The house is full to bursting – even the kitchen has been commandeered as an extra bedroom – and our final guests will arrive this afternoon. I’ve been woken up by fear that I’ll forget to take today’s lunch, prepared in advance so it can cook while I’m doing my radio show today, out of the freezer. There’s not enough wrapping paper for all the stocking presents. I don’t think the ham I’ve bought for dinner is big enough. What if we run out of potatoes? So much planning and preparation has gone into this time; it feels strange that it’s almost here, and almost over. Already the pantomime has been and gone; the Christmas edition of my radio show will be next, then we’ll be hanging the stockings and leaving mince pies for Father Christmas, and then the dawn will break on another Christmas Day.
We try. All of us. We try so hard.
If human beings truly are a reflection of the God who made them – if God made human beings in his own image – then this sense of striving, this sense that there is something better towards which we can work – is God-given. It’s proof that He exists. The goals he gives his creation in the New Testament – kindness, love for one another, refraining from making judgements – are those which make life worth living. And life is all we have, until we die. I have only a very hazy image of Heaven – it’s a judicious mixture of Sara Crewe’s fields and fields of daisies and fields and fields of lilies, and a giant John Martin canvas, and I have a piano on one cloud and a harp on the other, and I play them by the hour and never make a single mistake on either. There’s no Christmas – there won’t need to be, because everyone we’ve ever loved, ever been loved by, will be there. The time we lost will be given back and we’ll never have to say goodbye again. But more than this – the people we loved, who were unable to love us, are there too. The Christmas gathering we strive for, which honours every single person’s inner light and brings them all together in a blaze of love, will be ours; the cycle of hurt and damage and destruction and awfulness will be broken, and love will prevail.
Love will prevail.
And that’s the promise that I’ll take to the freezer with me, and whip into the eggs and cream and bake into the mince pies and wrap around the presents. Wishing you all love, fortitude, and a very Happy Christmas. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading.