To The POINT With Father KEVIN BATES
HOW are you travelling as Christmas closes in?
Are you caught up wrapping parcels, bravely shopping, seeking to meet challenging deadlines?
Are you on a mission to catch up with everyone you can for a cuppa before year’s end?
“We simply must catch up before Christmas”, becomes an often-heard anthem and is meant with great honesty and love.
It can also be exhausting for the intending connector and the intended connectee!
At the close of a busy year, we add another layer of hectic over our already tired and frazzled frame.
Of course, if by a miracle of good management and time we achieve all our goals, then we reckon all the effort has been well worth it and we can then sit back and rest a bit.
Are you busy making holiday plans for your kids, sorting out the Christmas menus and family visiting schedules?
Are you occupied, making sure that all the right people are invited to the right places at the right times?
Do you worry that you’ll forget someone and then be in all sorts of hot water?
Are you operating within your financial means or are you just stretching yourself a bit too far?
You’re doing all this of course with great love for all concerned. You feel the strain along with a certain anxiety that you get it all done right.
Once again, if you manage to tick all the necessary boxes, perhaps then you can relax and rest a bit, perhaps!
How are you travelling as Christmas closes in?
DOES this time find you alone with very few people to worry about, and very few people to share your Christmas?
Does this time find you wondering what you can do to lift your spirits and break through your loneliness?
Does this Christmas find you grieving for the first time the loss of one you’ve loved?
Is it someone who has been important and even central to your life and now is no longer here?
As this Christmas closes in are you caught up in the global uncertainty about the health of our planet or the global certainty of the ill-health of our human family?
We are at war in many parts of the world. We are often at war in this country in our families, our neighbourhoods and in the inner sanctuary of our own hearts.
As this Christmas closes in, a different still small voice can be heard.
IN Jesus somehow, God manages to breathe new life into our busy, tired, anxious, lonely, grieving and even our violent selves.
As we remember Jesus’ birth, something deep stirs inside us, something that feels like hope, dignity, truth and freedom.
Here is some relief for our burdened soul.
Sometimes this hopeful language finds its way into our public discourse as it did this past week on the anniversary of the Lindt Cafe siege and at the final declaration of the Climate Summit in Paris.
Hearing this voice of hope requires a moment or two of careful listening by a heart that is truly free to listen.
May you be blessed with the space and freedom to find this listening heart as this Christmas time closes in.
Father KEVIN BATES is Parish Priest, Holy Name of Mary Parish Hunters Hill.